The New Pornographers
The New Pornographers are a Canadian indie pop group that has achieved significant commercial and critical success with the release of six studio albums since their 2000 debut. The 15-year-old supergroup of primarily Canadian musicians has evolved as a collective of skilled power pop artists led by front man and vocalist A.C. Newman. Their most recent album, Brill Bruisers, has received high acclaim since its 2014 release, landing at #13 on the Billboard Top 200.
Together with Newman, The New Pornographers are Dan Bejar (vocals, guitar), John Collins (bass, producer), Kathryn Calder (vocals, keyboard, guitar), Todd Fancey (lead guitar), and Blaine Thurier (keyboard, synthesizer).
Their sixth and most recent album, Brill Bruisers, has received high acclaim since its 2014 release, landing #13 on the Billboard Top 200. As with many great albums, Newman believes that the album title can and should convey multiple meanings:
"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 New York space where some of the 60s top pop writers produced their work. "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?”
Newman spent much time over the course of the two-year project tracking down his bandmates, who were off on their own adventures and tours around the globe. Newman traveled back and forth between Canada and his home base in Woodstock, GA, flying out for Vancouver-based Bejar’s written and sung contributions on three songs, as well as to then-drummer Kurt Dahle.
With the return of co-pilot and bassist/producer John Collins, Brill Bruisers returns to the band’s indie-power-pop roots made famous on the first three albums. Collins’ hiatus resulted in a more relaxed sound on subsequent albums, while Newman’s quoted “Glen Campbell vibe” solo album helped him get “the singer/songwriter stuff somewhat out of his system”. With refined attitudes from their individual careers and a blast from the past with much of the original cast, The New Pornographers returned with an album that is “shinier and faster”.
While The New Pornographers have always maintained an upbeat, certainly “shiny” characteristic to their music, Newman says that with this release they wanted to “bridge the gap between a sort of late 70s/early 80s ELO synth-pop and just being a rock band.” This would mean both picking up vintage sounds and enhancing their current use of modern technology, working backward and forward with the same intensity to meet a perfect balance.