The New Pornographers

Full Discography

LPs
  • Together - OLE-891 - 2010-05-04
  • Myriad Harbour (uk single) - OLE-782 - 2007-10-01
  • Challengers - OLE-770 - 2007-08-21
  • Challengers: Executive Edition - OLE-774 - 2007-08-21
  • Twin Cinema - OLE-621 - 2005-08-23
  • Twin Cinema - OLE-621 - 2005-08-23
  • Mass Romantic REMASTERED - OLE-540 - 2003-10-07
  • Electric Version - OLE-551 - 2003-05-06
Singles & EPs
  • Moves (Record Store Day Exclusive) - OLE-959 - 2011-04-16
  • Togetherness: The New Pornographers Play Outrageous Cherry - OLE-934 - 2010-05-04
  • High Art, Local News - OLE-682 - 2005-08-23
  • Letter From An Occupant - OLE-541 - 2002-04-15

Biography

The New Pornographers’ sixth album, Brill Bruisers, has a name that brings multiple connotations to mind, all of them apt, since band founder A.C. Newman acknowledges liking “titles that, in my mind, could have five different meanings.” But you wouldn’t steer yourself wrong if you gathered from the name that what you are about to hear will be both brainy and pugilistic. If you could put a face on analbum title, this one might be represented by a boxer’s mug with a monocle.

A reference to “brilliant bruisers” occurs in what became the title track, “and it was shortening it to ‘brill’ which made me think of the whole Brill Building connotation,” Newman says. “Even though I hesitate to give it any exact meaning, I like the idea that it’s bruising songs in the style of the Brill Building,” the legendary office tower where the greatest pop songwriters of the 1960s pumped out their classics. “Or, it makes sense as just short for brilliant. The whole idea of being a brilliant bruiser—isn’t that what everybody ultimately strives for, or what a person needs to succeed in this world? To be really intelligent and really strong at the same time? It just seemed to match this group of songs somehow.”

This is a set of bruisers four years in the making, as several of the collective’s more prominent members have been otherwise occupied by their day jobs, or Newman has learned to not resist the terms that writers have always applied to the Pornographers to reflect the unusual nature of the lineup. “The irony is that as the years go on, these things become less true and more true,” he laughs. “We weren’t a ‘supergroup’ at the beginning, but now we arguably are. The band means different things for different people. For Dan and Neko, it’s a side project. For me, ironically, it’s a career, and my solo career is just something I dabble in. But who else has all these people in the band? Look at us. When you consider that Neko’s as popular as she’s ever been and Dan’s coming off Kaputt, the biggest Destroyer record yet, it’s like: Yeah, we’re a fucking supergroup!”

Mantle accepted.

On Brill Bruisers, bassist/producer John Collins returns to the co-pilot’s chair that he inhabited on the Pornographers’ first three albums. The band’s last couple of recordings, made without Collins as primary producer, had slowed down a bit from their original indie-power-pop ethos, and Newman’s latest solo album went for “a Glen Campbell vibe.” Having gotten the singer/songwriter stuff somewhat out of his system, Newman decreed early in the going that this Pornographers album needed to be “shinier and faster.” To that end, a couple of very specific touchstones were invoked. “Before we started the record, I was talking to Dan and I remember saying, ‘Yeah, I want to go with a slight Sigue Sigue Sputnik vibe.’ I think he took me very literally on that,” Newman chuckles. “So he sped up all of his songs quite a bit. And I had to speed up my songs as well, because I thought ‘My songs can’t be slow when his are so fast!’ So that Sigue Sigue Sputnik comment really served its purpose.”

That covers the “faster” part, but what about the “shinier”? “We were going for ‘Xanadu’,” Newman says. Just in case there’s any doubt, he is not alluding to Citizen Kane but directly referencing, yes, the roller-disco movie to which ELO contributed much of the soundtrack. Brill Bruisers doesn’t just draw inspiration from Jeff Lynne’s genius in general but from the synth sounds of a very specific two- or three-year period in that group’s career. “It’s basically Discovery, Xanadu, Electric Dreams ELO pretty much,” he allows. “There are a lot of influences that I try and avoid when they come up, but that’s not one of them. If something sounds like ELO, I think, yes, let’s do this! It feels like everybody’s influenced by the same bands nowadays, but if you’re going to be influenced by early Depeche Mode, why not just move over and be influenced by early ‘80s ELO?”

But maybe think Secret Messages meets Surfer Rosa, because there’s a deep and propulsive core almost constantly thundering away under those celestial flourishes. “On this record, I think what we wanted to do was bridge the gap between a sort of late ‘70s/early ‘80s ELO synth-pop and just being a rock band. I thought, why can’t we have these arpeggiators swirling but at the same time be a driving rock band with loud guitars? That was one spot where I felt: this is a space that we can currently inhabit in rock music, because there’s nobody else doing this.”

It wasn’t just a matter of picking up vintage keyboard sounds, but also using all the modern technology and apps at their disposal. “Not that we’re trying to make EDM, but we’ve never been afraid to use as much modern technology as possible. So there are a lot of loud sections in songs like “Champions of Red Wine” and “Dance Hall Domine” that have very chopped-up sounds. I think of taking a sample of a men’s choir and chopping it up with a square-wave tremolo... and really embracing the artificiality of those sounds. But at the heart of it, there’s nothing artificial about the band that’s playing it. It’s real bass, real drums, real guitars.”

And real sentiments. Newman didn’t necessarily want to get as introspective on Brill Bruisers as he was on his last solo album, 2012’s Shut Down the Streets, where he dealt with the death of his mother and birth of his son. But personal concerns inevitably snuck in anyhow. “Wide Eyes” is “definitely a song about my son. Though it’s not sung in a very, very literal way, that song is about how he changed my life.” “Fantasy Fools” also deals with the transition from young man to family man. “Not that I feel like an old man, but you can’t help, when you get in your 40s and all of a sudden you have a family, to start thinking about whether there are ways of growing older correctly.”

Newman was able to keep a work/family balance by making most of the album over a period of two years at his home studio in Woodstock, with Collins frequently flying in for long stays to work on the production as a duo, much as they did when they made the first thee albums in the band’s original home base of Vancouver. A certain amount of travel still figured in, “chasing Neko around” to Texas and Vermont, and heading back to Canada for much of the work involving the three songs written and sung by Bejar as well as contributions from drummer Kurt Dahle.

The result, arrived at with some sense of leisure to get it right, “is stylistically as close as we can get to what I think I’ve always imagined us being,” says Newman. I feel like what we did on this has always been in the back of my mind, even from the first record, but we just never did it, like using all the arpeggiators and adding that spacy synth element. It just never seemed right before, and with this record, it completely did. I feel more confident about this record than I’ve ever felt about anything before. My reaction to somebody not liking this record is ‘Well, I don’t know what else to do!’”

News From The Matablog

TONIGHT : The New Pornographers at NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom



(above : a cake presented to The New Pornographers at Milwaukee's Pabst Theatre.  Those who ignore the future are condemned to repeat the Pabst).

Just a reminder The New Pornographers are playing midtown's Hammerstein Ballroom tonight (Monday, Nov. 17) and a handful of tickets are still available. I'm presuming you'll need more than one but perhaps less than a handful, but either way, this is the sort of nudge in the ribs I'm sure you appreciate just as much as I deeply love delivering it.



remaining dates :

Monday, November   17 -- Hammerstein Ballroom, New York NY*
Wednesday, November 19 -- House of Blues, Boston MA*
Thursday, November 20 -- Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA* (sold out)
Friday, November 21 -- 9:30 Club, Washington, DC*
Saturday, November 22 -- 9:30 Club, Washington DC (sold out)
Sunday, November  23 -- Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro NC* (sold out)
Monday, December 1 -- The Deaf Institute, Manchester UK
Tuesday, December  2 -- O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London UK
Wednesday, December  3 -- Botanique - Rotunde, Brussels, Belgium
Thursday, December  4 -- La Maroquinerie, Paris, France
Friday, December  5 -- Gebaude 9, Cologne, Germany
Saturday, December  6 -- Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Sunday, December 7 -- Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wednesday, February, 4 — Theatre Corona Virgin Mobile Montreal
Thursday, February, 5 — The Dansforth Music Hall Toronto %
Friday, February, 6 — London Music Hall London  &
Saturday, February, 7 — Hillside Inside at Mitchell Hall in St. Georges Church &
Sunday, February, 8 — Molson Canadian Studio at Hamilton Place &

* w/ The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
& w/ Operators

order 'Brill Bruisers' from the following :
The Matador Store
New Pornos Store
iTunes
Amazon
Google





The New Pornographers live on Radio Milwaukee today



Prior to entertaining the masses at Milwaukee's Pabst Theater tonight, The New Pornographers will be entertaining, um, the masses, via the magic of live radio. Tune in to 88.9 Radio Milwaukee at noon CST for a performance by the band, or stream the set at radiomilwaukee.org if you're more about ones and zeros than transmitters. Up to you really.

Tour dates!

Thursday, November, 13 — Pabst Theater, Milwaukee WI*
Friday, November, 14 — Riviera Theatre, Chicago IL*
Saturday, November, 15 — House of Blues, Cleveland OH*
Monday, November, 17 — Hammerstein Ballroom, New York NY*
Wednesday, November, 19 — House of Blues, Boston MA*
Thursday, November, 20 — Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA*
Friday, November, 21 — 9:30 Club, Washington, DC*
Sunday, November, 23 — Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro NC*
Monday, December, 1 — The Deaf Institute, Manchester UK
Tuesday, December, 2 — O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London UK
Wednesday, December, 3 — Botanique – Rotunde, Brussels, Belgium
Thursday, December, 4 — La Maroquinerie, Paris, France
Friday, December, 5 — Gebaude 9, Cologne, Germany
Saturday, December, 6 — Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Sunday, December, 7 — Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

* w/ The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
^with Iron & Wine, Glass Animals
! with Pickwick, Cool

order ‘Brill Bruisers’ from the following :
The Matador Store
New Pornos Store
iTunes
Amazon
Google






 

This Weekend At Fun Fun Fun : Iceage, Ted Leo, Majical Cloudz, The New Pornographers, Yo La Tengo



The 9th annual edition of Transmission Entertainment's ridiculously awesome Fun Fun Fun Fest hits Austin's Auditorium Shores this weekend, and here's a breakdown of where and when the far-too-well-represented members of the Matador family will be appearing.  NONE ARE CONFLICTING WITH KING DIAMOND (and that's all that really matters). 

Tickets for the entire weekend + FFF Nites aftershows are still available here. 

MAJICAL CLOUDZ:
Friday, November 7 - Yellow Stage 7:20 PM 
Friday, November 7, Cheer Up Charlie's (Outdoor) 11:00 PM  

TED LEO 
Friday, November 7, Mohawk, 12:45 AM



ICEAGE: 
- Friday, November, 7 - Holy Mountain (Indoor)12:30 AM
- Saturday, November, 8 - Black Stage 4:05 PM

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS:
- Saturday, November, 8 - Orange Stage 5:55 PM

YO LA TENGO: 
- Sunday, November 9, Orange Stage - 5:55 PM

THE NEW PORNOGRPAHERS LIVE ON KCRW'S MORNING BECOMES ECLECTIC 2:15 PM EST, PLAY THE WILTERN IN LA TONIGHT


Last night The New Pornographers played "Dancehall Domine" for Conan O'Brien for those who still have cable. If you missed it, there is a clip of their performance above. Here is a photo of Kathryn Calder and a new, dear friend. 

The band are currently making the rounds in Los Angeles. This is an URGENT reminder to tune in to kcrw.com or if you're in the LA area 89.9fm to hear the band perform LIVE on Morning Becomes Eclectic with Jason Bentley at 2:15pm est. Later tonight they will play The Wiltern with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Tickets here.

More tour dates can be found here. 

IDIOT BOX ALERT : The New Pornographers on TBS' "Conan" Tonight



The New Pornographers will be appearing on TBS' "Conan" this evening (11pm eastern, 10pm central).  Mr. O'Brien (as he's known to people who aren't his friends or associates) will also welcome guests Anthony Anderson (SO GOOD IN THE FIRST "BARBERSHOP", AKA "BARBERSHOP ONE : THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD") and Jon Lovitz (also, quite good in "Happiness", aka The Second Greatest Story Ever Told, though perhaps not as good as Mr. Anderson in "Barbershop", and maybe a little too creepy in this context, so never mind).   Prior to Friday night's show at the Wiltern, The New Pornographers will be appearing on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" at 2:15 pm eastern / 11:15pm pacific time.

The New Pornographers On Tour  :

Friday, October, 17 -- The Wiltern, Los Angeles CA*
Saturday, October, 18 -- North Park Theatre, San Diego CA*
Saturday- Sunday, October, 18-19 -- Treasure Island Music Festival, San Francisco CA*
Tuesday, November, 4 -- Cannery Ballroom, Nashville TN*
Wednesday, November, 5 -- Orange Peel, Asheville NC*
Thursday, November, 6 -- Buckhead Theatre, Atlanta GA*
Friday, November, 7 -- Civic Theatre, New Orleans LA*
Saturday, November, 8 -- Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin TX*
Monday, November, 10 -- The Pageant, St. Louis MO*
Tuesday, November, 11 -- Slowdown, Omaha NE*
Thursday, November, 13 -- Pabst Theater, Milwaukee WI*
Friday, November, 14 -- Riviera Theatre, Chicago IL*
Saturday, November, 15 -- House of Blues, Cleveland OH*
Monday, November, 17 -- Hammerstein Ballroom, New York NY*
Wednesday, November, 19 -- House of Blues, Boston MA*
Thursday, November, 20 -- Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA*
Friday, November, 21 -- 9:30 Club, Washington, DC*
Sunday, November, 23 -- Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro NC*
Monday, December, 1 -- The Deaf Institute, Manchester UK
Tuesday, December, 2 -- O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London UK
Wednesday, December, 3 -- Botanique - Rotunde, Brussels, Belgium
Thursday, December, 4 -- La Maroquinerie, Paris, France
Friday, December, 5 -- Gebaude 9, Cologne, Germany
Saturday, December, 6 -- Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Sunday, December, 7 -- Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

* w/ The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
^with Iron & Wine, Glass Animals
! with Pickwick, Cool

order 'Brill Bruisers' from the following :
The Matador Store
New Pornos Store
iTunes
Amazon
Google





Artwork
(click for high resolution)