The National, "Bloodbuzz Ohio"

80 Billboard Rating

"I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees," Matt Berninger sings on "Bloodbuzz Ohio," the National's lead single from its first studio album in three years, "High Violet." The insects may have drawn Berninger and his bandmates to the Buckeye State, but it's the band's pristine, atmospheric indie rock sound that has made it a sensation, from 2005's turning-point album "Alligator" to 2007's widely acclaimed "Boxer." Here, backed by Bryan Devendorf's steady drumbeat and a pair of swelling synths, Berninger's trademark baritone tells a haunting tale of money, sultry romance and how "Ohio don't remember me . . . the floors are falling out from everybody I know." Let's hope Berninger's not too attached to local pastures, because all signs point to another big year for the National that will undoubtedly keep it away from home.-Evan Lucy