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The New Pornographers

by Archives October 4, 2006

The New Pornographers is one of those bands you just can’t listen to and stay still while doing it.

Since their debut album Mass Romantic, they have made audiences move with their hook-filled indie pop. On their website they proclaim their music has, “brought a lot of joy to the world” which will definitely be the case when they come to play in Montreal, next Tuesday.

The man behind the songs is A. C. (Carl) Newman who, besides writing and composing, also sings and plays the guitar, the ebow (an electronic guitar bow), the synthesizer, the harmonica, the pump organ and the xylophone. But song writing isn’t the only ingredient needed in a good band. It also needs great musicians, which The New Pornographers definitely have no shortage of.

The band is now made up of eight musicians including Newman. Kathryn Calder on vocals and piano, Neko Case on vocals, John Collins on vocals, bass, guitar, synthesizer and ebow, Todd Fancey on guitar and Blaine Thurier on synthesizer, while Dan Bejar is an occasional songwriter and the only non-touring member. Rounding up the group is Kurt Dahle on drums.

Dahle is responsible for those solidly driven beats who moved Grant Lawrence, host of the CBC radio 3 podcast, to describe his playing in their 2005 song “Bleeding Heart Show” as “the best drum fill of any songs [that year].”

Dahle wasn’t the band’s original drummer. In fact he had even been to a few of The New Pornographers’ gigs before he started playing with them. He eventually joined the ranks when, as Dahle explained, their drummer “couldn’t come one day and they needed somebody to play some shows. But that was years and years ago!”

Years have indeed passed, but the band’s popularity has stayed. Twin Cinema, their last album, was nominated for a 2005 Juno Award in the category of Best Alternative Album. Dahle says popularity really wasn’t on their mind when they started to play together. “It was just kind of a hobby, it was fun in the garage you know, and suddenly people liked it! It felt good.”

Now, The New Pornographers are heading east to start an all-Canadian tour. “It’s kind of fun now because we don’t tour Canada that much anymore,” said Dahle. “We’re kind of all over the world now and we sort of forget about Canada. And then at the end of this whole thing we’re like ‘Hey! We’d better play in Canada!'”

What’s their plan after this tour? “We have one more small tour of Australia. And other shows in like Spain and Japan or something, but beside that I think we’re going to start working on another record,” said Dahle.

Their fourth album will be much anticipated.

The New Pornographers play Club Soda on Oct. 10 at 9 p.m.

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