The soundtrack to Lena Dunham’s Girls is noted for its savvy music choices, so it seems fitting that Dunham’s debut as host on Saturday Night Live should be accompanied by Brooklyn indie stalwarts the National, making their own first appearance on the show.
The band chose two numbers from their sixth studio album, Trouble Will Find Me, which racked up a Grammy Nomination this year for Best Alternative Album. They opened with “Graceless,” bringing all their textural dexterity to bear on the track.
The band returned for their second set with the lushly moody “I Need My Girl.” In an interview with Rolling Stone just before the release of Trouble Will Find Me last spring, singer Matt Berninger said of the song, “In the past, that would have been an underhanded metaphor.” He also reflected on the band’s trajectory following the breakout success of their previous album. “When we started, we weren’t exactly a cool band like the Strokes or Interpol,” he said. “For years, we tried to prove we weren’t boring white guys. This time around, we didn’t have to prove anything. We thought, ‘Let’s not worry if a song is cool or edgy.'”
The National are booked to play a mini-set at next week’s annual Tibet House Benefit Concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. A documentary about the band called Mistaken For Strangers, directed by Berninger’s brother, is set to hit theaters on March 28th.