Matt Berninger Covers Mercury Rev’s “Holes” and The National Cover INXS | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Matt Berninger Covers Mercury Rev’s “Holes” and The National Cover INXS

“Holes” Cover Benefits Planned Parenthood; Cover of INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart” Benefits Australian Bushfire Relief

Feb 28, 2020
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Matt Berninger of The National has shared a cover of Mercury Rev's classic "Holes," from their 1998 album Deserter's Songs. It's part of the 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood series and was shared via a video for the cover. The National, meanwhile, have covered INXS' "Never Tear Us Apart" for the new Australian bushfire relief compilation, Songs for Australia. Listen to both covers below, as well as the original versions of the songs.

Last year Berninger announced his debut solo album, Serpentine Prison, although the release date is still TBA. Booker T. Jones produced Serpentine Prison and also produced the "Holes" cover. The track also features Booker T. Jones, Gail Ann Dorsey, Mickey Raphael, Matt Barrick of The Walkmen, Sean O'Brien, Harrison Whitford, Ben Lanz, and Kyle Resnick.

Berninger had this to say about "Holes" cover in a press release: "I found myself wasting a lot of time and energy worrying about all the threats to the world and to my kid's rights. Finally, I just turned everything off and tried to chill. I started listening to a lot of old favorite records and re-reading books. All my energy and optimism came back and I started recording a lot. So many people I know are having this experience and doing their best work right now. Instead of watching everything being destroyed why not have fun and create things that can fight back. I've never been happier. Joy is an act of resistance. IDLES said that." 

The B-side for the split "Holes" single features a spoken word piece by attorney Neal Katyal, who was President Obama's top Supreme Court lawyer. Katyal's piece is titled "A Reproductive Rights Call to Action" and is accompanied by a score by Sean O'Brien. You can hear that below as well.

Katyal had this to say in the press release: "I'm contributing to this record because reproductive freedom is an essential right that affects all Americans, and we shouldn't just look to the courts to safeguard it. Congress can protect it by itself-all it takes is a few more votes."

Chris Sgroi directed the video for "Holes," which features Berninger riding a bike by the beach and on a pier, intercut with in-the-studio footage. Sgroi had this to say about the video in the press release: "This video is about process. I'm always interested in how creative people prepare themselves to make something. It seemed like a natural connection to show the actual studio take juxtaposed with Matt in quiet moments of contemplation surrounded by nature."

Songs for Australia comes out digitally on March 12 via BMG and in June on CD/vinyl. It also features Kurt Vile, Martha Wainwright, Damien Rice, Joan as Policewoman, Sam Amidon, and others. Australian singer/songwriter Julia Stone organized the compilation and contributes a cover of Midnight Oil's "Beds Are Burning" (also listen to that below). Proceeds will benefit various organizations: Firesticks, Landcare Australia, SEED, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, WildArk, and NSW RFS.

Last year Berninger teamed up with Phoebe Bridgers for the new song, "Walking On a String," which they performed in Netflix's Between Two Ferns: The Movie. Then they shared a studio version of the song via a black & white video featuring them recording it, making "Walking On a String" one of our Songs of the Week.

The National released a new album, I Am Easy to Find, back in May 2019 via 4AD. It was our Album of the Week and you can stream it here. I Am Easy to Find was accompanied by a 24-minute short film also directed by Mike Mills and starring Oscar-winning Swedish actress Alicia Vikander.

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