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New Pornographers - Together


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  • 1 month later...

The Matador Records blog has the tracklisting for the new album.

There is also an MP3 of the song "Your Hands (Together)" at the link below:

http://www.matadorrecords.com/matablog/2010/02/22/everybody-put-your-hands-together-right-now/

Mike

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

NPR is going to be streaming this one starting on Monday, so I imagine we'll be discussing the album a bit more come next week. For now, though, let me say that, after spinning it a couple of times, I think it's a fine New Pornos album, but not a particularly remarkable one. There are a lot of stellar pop songs that could have fit on Mass Romantic and a couple of quieter numbers that sound like challengers hold-overs. Neko owns this one, and Bejar's songs are especially good. There are some dynamite singles and singles-in-the-making. The overall effect of the album, though, feels more sturdy than inspired; there's nothing here we haven't already heard from this band, which I guess is okay, but it means that this one isn't going to knock anyone's socks off like some of their early records may have.

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My review.

New Pornographer fans, how do you think this one stacks up compared to past albums? Is this top-shelf Porn (sorry), bottom of the barrel, somewhere in the middle?

For me, this is the band's most consistent album. Which doesn't necessarily make it their best. I'd still reserve that for Twin Cinema, which had a couple clunkers, but also had a handful of brilliant tracks. This one is good throughout. Dan Bejar's songs, which have always been the weak link for me, are among the best on the album. But Carl Newman, never less than good, is only good here. It's a solid, four-star effort. I like the return to power pop after the relatively subdued Challengers. But this is a band that may fall victim to its own excellence. It's no tragedy when a band makes a good album. It only seems that way with this bunch because of what has come before.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's why The New Pornographers are great - the final track, "We End Up Together", sounds like a mash-up of classic Yes and Animal Collective, two bands I actively dislike, and yet they still manage to fashion a wonderful, woozy, hook-filled ode to the joys (and sorrows) of finding yourself right back where you started.

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  • 3 months later...

Yikes.

The New Pornographers are not actually pornographers, as far as we know. But that didn't stop Calvin College, a Christian institution of higher education in Michigan, from canceling a planned October 15 New Pornographers show on campus. The Grand Rapids Press reports that the band's name is indeed the reason for the cancellation.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Given that at least two of the band members grew up in Christian homes, I'd be curious to know what they made of all this -- or, indeed, what they made of being invited to play at Calvin College in the first place. From an article that I wrote for one of the local secular papers in February 2000, about keyboardist Blaine Thurier's first film:

Thurier got the idea for
Low Self Esteem Girl
-- which stars Corrina Hammond as "a girl who has a good heart but can't say no to people, and thereby gets herself into a lot of trouble" -- while working on the cartoon strip "Grief" in the now-defunct
Terminal City
newspaper.

The main character is seduced by a few of the men who come into her life over the course of the film. But she is also seduced, as it were, by a group of born-again Christians who convert her to their faith. In one scene they try to cast a demon out of a member of their group; one girl blurts out the command, "Shut up, demon! In the name of Jesus, shut up!"

Thurier, who grew up in a Pentecostal home, insists that he did not set out to mock Christians with his film. "I see that in films too often," he says. "I think it's extremely unfair when you set up a character with a certain belief system and you snicker into the camera: 'Look at these ridiculous fools!' So I avoided that."

And if commanding a demon to "shut up" sounds too amusingly banal? Thurier points to radio evangelists such as Bob Larson, who reportedly once exorcised "the demon of heartburn". "You listen to Bob Larson or something, he can be pretty banal," says the cartoonist-turned-director.

Thurier says Carl Newman, who plays the youth pastor in his film, also came out of a church environment; in fact, the two of them once played together in a faux-Christian band called the Crusaders. "Carl just wanted to do those songs from youth group because he loves them," says Thurier.

FWIW, if memory serves, the girl who says "Shut up, demon!" is played by another musician who is dating another filmmaker who also grew up in a Christian home (his sister went to the same Christian school that I did).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 4 months later...

The cast:

Horatio Sanz is John Collins. Kevin Corrigan is Dan Bejar. Jon Wurster is Carl Newman. Ted Leo is... Kathryn Calder?

In their brand new video for their song Moves (from last year's album Together), Vancouver'sNew Pornographers have hired a pretty spectacular cast of comedians that also includes Jon Oliver and Donald Glover (Community), Wyatt Cenac (of The Daily Show, in the role of Blaine Thurier), Julie Klausner (who plays Neko Case), Esther Crowe (as Todd Fancey), Michael Lisk (as Kurt Dahle), with cameo appearances by John "PC" Hodgman and many more.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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