Angela bought me the latest album by the The New Pornographers last month, despite her mild discomfort with the band’s odd choice of name. After letting her hear a couple of songs, she decided they were okay afterall and even has a couple loaded onto her iPod for bopping around the house to.
She purchased the song off of iTunes Music Store, which is where a lot of our music comes from these days1. I had heard about the album back over the summer in an NPR piece about great summer music, even though the album wasn’t even out yet. They played a 45–60 second snip of one of the songs. I had also listened to each of the songs 30-second clips on iTMS and decided I like what I heard.
I was then completely blown away when I listend to the album in its entirety. Each song is like an multi-movement pop-symphony. The song you are listening to at the beginning isn’t like the middle or end, and the progression is both natural and amazing. Songs like “The Bleeding Heart Show” change and evolve in a way that would leave both proponents of Darwin’s Theory and I.D. stunned.
Also, the band has a very hard to pin down taxonomy. They strum guitars and bang on keyboards like a true rock band, but also show the emtion of the moodiest of emo and indie rock. However, I don’ t think I’d ever call them indie, since to the best of my knowledge, hey-la hey-la choruses are by definition, not allowed in indie rock (see also “The Bleeding Heart Show”). The lyrics are smart and this ablum’s addition of songwriter A.C. Newman’s niece Kathryn Calder on vocals (and piano) add even more layers of nice to a great album. If you like variety in your rock and want something new and solid, you should have this album in your collection.
- We love the convience of iTMS, but of course the DRM is a bit frustrating. I typically burn and re-rip the music bought there for two reasons: 1) a physical back-up in the event of hard-drive failure and 2)Re-ripping removes the DRM on the music. [↩]