For the next two days, the center of the introverted underground-rock world will leap from hipster blogs and snarky music websites to a real-world stage in western Wisconsin as the inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival begins on Friday in Eau Claire.
Only hours after sharing the stage with President Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., unassuming indie-rock group the National finally seemed poised to shed their bashful ways and play to the kind of larger audiences that rock stars — even presidential ones — are accustomed to.
Building on the critical success of 2007’s “Boxer,” Brooklyn-based the National toss down the gauntlet for rock album greatness with their new disc, “High Violet.” In a time when iTunes singles are the new normal, here’s a body of indie-rock anthems that while thoroughly modern, invite a return to the best of the album era.
Looking to cash in your iTunes gift card from the holidays? Soundbytes’ David Hyland has recommendations where to spend it.