Volume 94, Issue 81

Thursday, February 15, 2001


A conversation with...Robert Munsch - Best selling children's author on life and art

Psychotic rock with Treble Charger

Do you like pornography?

Kramer is play's only saving grace

O-Town more than musical prodigies

Do you like pornography?

Photo by Catherine Stockhausen
HEY GUYS, WAIT FOR ME! Late for their show at Call The Office, The New Pornographers race to the Porn-mobile.

By Zach Peterson
Gazette Staff

If the name The New Pornographers doesn't grab your attention, the music itself should.

An indie-rock supergroup of sorts, The New Pornographers were formed in 1997, but due to other engagements, released their first record in 2000.

The brainchild of Zumpano frontman Carl Newman, The Pornographers consists of Neko Case, Dan Bejar (Limblifter), Kurt Dahle (Destroyer), Blaine Thurier and John Collins.

The music is very reminiscent of early 1980s new wave pop/rock, with Beach Boy-harmonies thrown in for good measure.

The New Pornographers will begin their second tour Feb. 16 in Detroit. Newman still works a day job strumming acoustic guitars at a music shop and all of the other band members have various other duties outside of the band. The band toured the Canadian West last fall, to crowded clubs and rave reviews.

The record, Mass Romantic, and especially the track "Letter From An Occupant," has gained a substantial following on college radio. The majority of the reaction to the Pornographers has been due to the vocal presence of alternative country diva, Neko Case.

Case only sings on a few tracks on Mass Romantic, but they happen to be some of the record's finest moments. As Newman muses, "At first I didn't think Neko was that big of a part of the band, because she doesn't live here [Vancouver] anymore. But after the first tour, I feel she is integral."

In spite of this, the extremely low-key Newman remains the bandleader. He mentions no specific influences for the band's sound. "I have read we sound like 20 different things, and sometimes I think they might have only listened to the first two tracks," he laughs.

"I'm a huge fan of big drum beats and we all like singing harmonies like the Beach Boys," Newman adds, emphasizing two of the most omnipresent musical features of Mass Romantic.

Although Newman is known for being a perfectionist, he says happy, at least for the most part, with Mass Romantic. "To be honest, I can't quite get a grip on the record. There are a few things I would like to change, but overall, I'm pretty happy with it. It comes to a point where you just have to leave it alone," he says.

When asked about the popularity of Mass Romantic, Newman said he is puzzled. "I expected a certain amount of positive reaction, but there has been way more than anticipated. It seems like cool people are actually buying the record. I thought it would be too poppy for the indie record stores."

Too poppy or not, The New Pornographers have definitely gained a large enough following to ensure Mass Romantic will not be their only release. Newman says a new album is a strong possibility. "I am taking the blind man approach at this point," he says. "If people want us around, they can have us. If not, we can disappear."

The New Pornographers will appear at Call The Office on Saturday Feb. 24, 2001.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000