The National is an American indie rock band formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, in 1999, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. The band's lyrics, which have been described as "dark, melancholy and difficult to interpret", are written and sung by Matt Berninger, a baritone. The rest of the band is composed of two pairs of brothers: twins Aaron (guitar and keyboard) and Bryce Dessner (guitar) and Scott (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums). The National has been compared to Joy Division, Leonard Cohen, Wilco, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. The name of the band was chosen because it "didn't mean anything" and was "benign and meaningless".
In 1991, Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf met while attending the University of Cincinnati's DAAP program , where they also met Mike Brewer, Casey Reas and Jeff Salem. Together, the five of them formed the lo-fi garage band Nancy, named after Berninger's mother, aspiring to sound like Pavement. The band was together for five years, but only released one album, Ruther 3429, on Wife Records before breaking up after Berninger, Devendorf, Reas and Salem moved to Brooklyn.