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The National

Later, 'Gator'

NationalNew York-by way-of Cincinnati rock outfit the National will release its next album, "Alligator," this week as part of a new deal with Beggars Banquet. The set was primarily recorded in band members' home studios in Brooklyn and was engineered by Paul Mahajan, best known for his work with TV On The Radio and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

"The record is very diverse musically -- there are some great, loud rock songs and some wobbly beat-driven songs and some beautiful, quiet ballads," group member Aaron Dessner says. "No electronics this time -- everything is played. Some tracks are just the band and some others have big, lush arrangements -- some with bassoon, clarinet, cello, violin, viola, ukulele, piano and autoharp."

Australian composer Padma Newsome, who plays with the National's Bryce Dessner in the Clogs, assisted with arrangements and appears on the disc playing piano, violin and viola. "He has been touring with us in Europe so it was a very natural progression into recording," Dessner says.

Three tracks from "Alligator" have been part of the National's live set for some time: "All the Wine," "Lit Up" and first single "Abel." Says Dessner of the latter track, "It used to be a much quieter little song and we had basically thrown it away. Then somehow it was reborn as this great big song with a life of its own. The way it is on the record is exactly how we play it live, which is what we wanted."