The New Pornographers – Super Group in so many ways

If you do not know anything about the musical group (yes, this is not about pron) The New Pornographers, then you should find out.  They are a super group of sorts, comprised of prolific and talented artists, all successful as solo artists.  Go to their website for all the details, I don’t need to hackishly summarize their history.

They put out an album early in 2010, which is great.

Recently there has been some cool news about things aside from the music that make this group super, which is using their resources to support great organizations that are making the world a better place.

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Great Listening Round-Up

Here is a handful of great musical releases from the recent past for you to listen to / watch and enjoy.

Of course I have to start off with Superchunk.  Here is Crossed Wires from an in-store at Sonic Boom in Toronto on December 9, 2010.  I missed this but did enjoy the show that night.

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Video from The New Pornographers for the song Crash Years off of the album Together released early in 2010, complete with introduction explaining the Oxfam connection.

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She and Him sing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with Conan O’Brien.

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Jeff Mangum played a surprise 10 song set recently, 5 of the songs you can listen to over at International Tapes.

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The Rural Alberta Advantage‘s first release off of their upcoming album.  The song is called Stamp, the album is called Departing (due March 1, 2011).  You will have to go to Pitchfork to stream it or Saddle Creek to download it yourself.

Review: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

The reason this is a great album is Same But Different.  The most engaging artists always have a unique, identifiable sounds such that you can pick them out immediately.  But that does not mean that every song and album sound the same.  To the contrary, the best bands stretch their musical muscle from album to album, applying their uniqueness in different ways.

The Arcade Fire is one of these bands and The Suburbs sounds very different and at the same time very the same.  The Suburbs leans more towards the pop/rock side of things than we have seen on previous records.  Less dense with more hooks.

Modern Man has a beat and guitar line that oozes 80’s radio rock goodness.  Month of May takes this idea to the next level, fuzzing up the guitar and picking up the pace.  It makes me think of Your Hands (Together) off of the latest New Pornographers album, which also caught me off guard with it’s overt guitar riff basis.

The frenetically paced  Empty Room sounds as though the strings and drums are in a race to the finish.
Subtler, more stripped down songs such as Wasted Hours and Sprawl are welcome breaks in the album, letting things breath a little.

I love the Spoon-esque percussive piano on We Used to Wait.

Unfortunately I will be forced to remove Rococo from my iPhone.  I know it is the name of the song, but please stop saying Rococo.  Forever.

    Head on over the The Arcade Fire website or Merge Records as they are offering up a digital version of the album with all sorts of coolness embedded inside.  I love to see this sort of creativity taking the music industry into the future.

    All in all The Suburbs give you all the greatness you expect from an Arcade Fire album and adds in enough variation to keep things fresh and interesting.  I expect this album will still be at the front of my playlist a year from now and I will still be discovering new layers.

    Best Music of 2010 – The New Pornographers

    Why wait to the end of the year to make a list.  I’ll just get started on it now.  I have a few albums to catch up on, so let’s start with my favourite so far.

    The New Pornographers are definitely one of my favourite bands and they never fail to disappoint.  Together is a great album full of the usual collection of eclectic songs.

    • Your Hands (Together), the first “single”, wonderfully blends an arena rock hook into the mix such that I can’t decide if I should head-bang or silly-dance.
    • Daughters of Sorrow turns Dan Bejar into a big band soul singer (is that a thing?), contrasting his subdued singing with bombastic background vocals and horns.
    • Crash Years is a perfect pop gem and Neko‘s voice makes my heart melt.
    • Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk is a wonderful song that keeps adding layers to a wonderful crescendo.  I also love my initial excitement as misinterpreting a lyric, thinking it was “You are a Todd Glass“.  I still sing it that way.

    And so it goes.  The entire album is lovely and amazing and I enjoy it more each time I listen to it.