CINCINNATI — At their hometown Homecoming festival in Cincinnati this weekend, veteran indie rock band The National announced a new album called Laugh Track, out this Sunday, September 17 at midnight.
The shocked audience was disoriented. “You guys should be more excited, we’re excited,” joked guitarist Aaron Dessner before the band launched into the recently released single “Space Invader,” which is on the new record. The National also played two more songs on the new album, “Smoke Detector” and “Dreaming,” the latter of which was a live debut.
In a now-deleted portion of a video interview viewed by Staged Haze, drummer Bryan Devendorf earlier this week confirmed the name of the album and that it was coming out in a surprise drop this weekend. “The record that came out in May, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, is the first half of a double album,” he said. “The whole concept is…there’s the first record, and this is like the ‘laugh track,’ to the show or whatever.”
People from the band’s online fan communities met bassist Scott Devendorf for drinks the night before the festival, said Phoebe Richards, who flew in from the UK to attend the festival. Devendorf confirmed the album’s surprise drop and gave fans a coupon for a “limited edition signed merchandise item,” which turned out to be a signed, limited run of the new album’s vinyl record. Some Cherry Tree members also received the coupon upon entry, according to the band’s subreddit.
“I thought the album would be released today but I didn’t think there’d be physical copies of it ready,” said Alex Light, another festival attendee who traveled from the UK. “None of us have heard it.”
They pointed out the irony of the situation: many National fans walking around with an unreleased album but no way to hear it. “There’s no vinyl player here, so I can’t do anything with it!” said Richards, laughing.
“It’s such a tease,” said Light.
Singer Matt Berninger announced that the remaining vinyl were available for any Homecoming attendee to purchase after the show. The Laugh Track vinyl will be available to the general public in November, the band said.
More from the Homecoming Festival coming soon!