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See the National Perform Impassioned New ‘Sea of Love’ and ‘I Need My Girl’ on ‘Fallon’

The National have staked out a sterling reputation for smartly brooding indie-rock anthems. Despite touches of wry humor, the material previewed so far from Brooklyn band’s upcoming album Trouble Will Find Me refines that strategy more than departs from it. That was particularly true in the group’s appearance last night on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, where they dapperly and passionately performed two songs from the May 21 album, joined by elegant trombone and trumpet. On air, the crew, dressed to the nines, romped through “Sea of Love” (above), which contains the album’s title phrase, an ambiguous Harvard reference, and honking harmonica. As an online exclusive, they turned down the tempo for urgent, atmospheric ballad “I Need My Girl” (below). Both are far more in line with what you might expect from the National than, say, performing one song over and over again for six hours, but that’s probably with good reason: As SPIN wrote of 2010’s High Violet, “No other band makes dark and stormy seem like ideal weather.”