Matt Berninger Shares Video For New Song “Serpentine Prison,” Confirms Solo Album Details | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, July 13th, 2020  

L to R: Booker T. Jones and Matt Berninger

Matt Berninger Shares Video For New Song “Serpentine Prison,” Confirms Solo Album Details

Serpentine Prison Due Out October 2 via Book/Concord

May 20, 2020 Photography by Chris Sgroi
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Last year Matt Berninger of The National announced his debut solo album, Serpentine Prison, although no release date was given. Now he has shared the album’s title track, “Serpentine Prison,” via a video for it. Berninger has also announced the album’s release date, as well as detailing its many special guests. Serpentine Prison is due out October 2 via Book, Berninger’s new imprint with Concord. Tom Berninger and Chris Sgroi directed the black & white “Serpentine Prison” video, which was filmed at Earthstar Creation Center in Venice, CA and chronicles the recording of the song. Watch it below, followed by the album’s cover art. 

In a press release Berninger had this to say about the new single: “The song ‘Serpentine Prison’ was written in December 2018 about a week after recording The National’s I Am Easy to Find. For a long time I had been writing songs for movies and musicals and other projects where I needed to get inside someone else’s head and convey another person’s feelings. I liked doing that but I was ready to dig back into my own garbage and this was the first thing that came out. The title is from a twisting sewer pipe that drains into the ocean near LAX. There’s a cage on the pipe to keep people from climbing out to sea. I worked on the song with Sean O’Brien and Harrison Whitford and recorded it about six months later with Booker T. Jones producing. It feels like an epilogue so I named the record after it and put it last.”

Booker T. Jones produced Serpentine Prison, with additional production by Sean O’Brien. The album features an array of special guest players, including: Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater, Muzz), Andrew Bird, Mike Brewer, Hayden Desser, Scott Devendorf (The National), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Booker T. Jones, Teddy Jones, Brent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena), Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut), Walter Martin (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Sean O'Brien, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Matt Sheehy (EL VY, Lost Lander), and Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers).

Back in February, before the pandemic overtook America, Berninger shared a cover of Mercury Rev’s classic “Holes,” from their 1998 album Deserter’s Songs. The cover is part of the 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood series and was originally shared via a video for the track. In April, for Late Night with Stephen Colbert Berninger performed the cover from home, aided remotely by Steph Altman on piano.

In April Berninger contributed guest vocals to “Quarantine Boogie (Loco),” a hilarious new COVD-19 themed song by Walter Martin (formerly of The Walkmen).

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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