Wealth of Riches Fuels Rock Band New Pornographers

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 22, 2014 | Go to article overview

Wealth of Riches Fuels Rock Band New Pornographers


Byline: David Bauder Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Soft-spoken A.C. Newman doesn't seem like a braggart. Yet he feels so strongly that his rock band, the New Pornographers, has just made its best work that a simple good review won't do.

"I haven't seen any negative reviews," Newman said. "But I find myself getting (angry) at reviews that I don't think are positive enough."

"Brill Bruisers," the group's sixth album and its first in four years, lays it on thick. Guitars, voices and electronic flourishes inspired by early-1980s Electric Light Orchestra are piled into high-energy power pop songs that use all of the New Pornographers' considerable strengths. It debuted at No. 13 on Billboard's top album chart.

Newman is the ringmaster of the eight-piece band, frequently referred to as an indie-rock supergroup because some of its members flourish elsewhere. Singer Neko Case has a solo career that overshadows the band, while singer-songwriter Dan Bejar leads the well-regarded Destroyer.

Newman said the New Pornographers initially signed a lousy recording deal because they thought their first album, 2000's "Mass Romantic," would also be the last. But their stutter-step sound and vocal blend proved popular, and it became a priority for members to keep it going. This week, however, the band announced that drummer Kurt Dahle was quitting.

Case could easily concentrate on her solo work instead of singing and shaking a tambourine for a band whose sound is much different than her own. Newman tracked Case down in Austin last year to record some of Case's vocals during a break in her solo tour.

"It never felt abnormal and I really haven't known it any other way," Case said. "I can't imagine one without the other, to be honest."

Much of the work was done at Newman's home studio in Woodstock, New York with bass player and producer John Collins; the full band was never in the same place during its recording. …

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