The National's sophomore album, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003), found the band emerging onto a larger stage. Uncut called it "a genuine treasure" and named it an album of the year; it was hailed by Rolling Stone and the indie media; and Magnet, La Liberation (Paris), and the Chicago Tribune were only a few of the publications to tap it for their year-end lists.
In France, the band had become such a sensation that renowned DJ Bernard Lenoir invited them to perform on his Black Sessions -- following US buzz bands like The Rapture and Interpol. A track from that session, "Murder Me Rachel" occupies the warm-blooded heart of Cherry Tree, a 7-song collection that delves the depths and brought their tension-wire rock to new heights. Clocking in at just under thirty minutes Cherry Tree was an EP, a mini-LP, or a bridge to the future. It features five new songs and two bonus tracks, including one of those aforementioned live performance from France inter radio and a trans-oceanic duet between the National's singer Matt Berninger and Clogs' Padma Newsome.