New Pornographers

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Fantastic group, their second one is even better than their first.

Now I just read this review from this Village Voice critic, who should be slapped around for the line I have pointed out...

Electric Version
Earns its buzz. Tremendous craft, winning enthusiasm. You'll remember every song when it comes on—maybe even when it doesn't, hum hum. But if it has a point beyond whistling at the void, it declines to mention what that point might be. --->Also, I wish the sparingly deployed Neko Case would abandon her faux-country career.<----(???) Carl Newman likes a lot of things about British pop that I don't, starting with vocal filters (his seems built-in) and that cute accent (signifying not class but artifice as a virtue). Is this what Zumpano sounds like? Who cares?

ham on rye (ham on rye), Monday, 16 June 2003 18:07 (twenty years ago) link

It's strange to single her out, as she's got the best claim to an independent solo career. I get the impression that Zumpano, Destroyer etc are basically attempts towards the NP sound.

I suppose that's his point: he can say Neko Case is worse than New Pornographers, because he has heard her to compare, unlike the other bands.

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Monday, 16 June 2003 18:21 (twenty years ago) link

Um, but Zumpano predates the New Pornographers!

Matthew Perpetua (Matthew Perpetua), Monday, 16 June 2003 18:25 (twenty years ago) link

If I recall he disliked Neko Case's recent solo album as well (sans explanation), which I thought was fairly insane as it contains some astonishing music from her band, some mesmerizing lyrics, and a really spooky vibe.

There's a reason I don't listen to them 65 yr old academics...

ham on rye (ham on rye), Monday, 16 June 2003 18:30 (twenty years ago) link

if i've learned one thing about neko case is that she can do whatever she wants and she will always do it very well (and with heart). it's difficult to criticize somebody like that. the quality of her releases is always very high and i think her own music will outlast the output of the new pornographers by a longshot.

fields of salmon (fieldsofsalmon), Monday, 16 June 2003 18:36 (twenty years ago) link

I get the impression that Zumpano, Destroyer etc are basically attempts towards the NP sound.

Both of which predate New Pornographers.

Also, I wish the sparingly deployed Neko Case would abandon her faux-country career.<----(???)

I wouldn't call her country either. And I also wish she would settle down into pop and write Mary Margaret O'Hara's long lost sequel to Miss America.

The New Pornographers C/D [answer: the former!]
new New Pornographers
Neko Case - Blacklisted

Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Monday, 16 June 2003 18:47 (twenty years ago) link

Exactly, fields...

Now I love NP, but Neko Case is on another level entirely.

ham on rye (ham on rye), Monday, 16 June 2003 18:49 (twenty years ago) link

Just the giant leap from The Virginian to Furnace Room Lullaby is something the most artists would give their left nut/ovary for.

I mean, The Virginian was a cute little hello to country music, a nice voice having a good time with some okay songs, and then the scope and haunting beauty of FRL just blew me away.

But, this guy, who is this guy? He writes like the world should care what he personally likes. That's not criticking, that's keeping a diary.

Horace Mann (Horace Mann), Monday, 16 June 2003 18:57 (twenty years ago) link

I know Zumpano and Destroyer predate New Pornographers, I'm just saying they seem a bit unneccesary now. I mean seriously, new NP album versus another Destroyer album that at its best sounds like NP?

I have no problem with people who would prefer more Neko Case. They're just wrong is all :)

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Monday, 16 June 2003 19:00 (twenty years ago) link

I wouldn't call her country, since she stretches out the boundaries into darker, almost more gothic realms...and live, she's certainly downplaying the country side of things for an approach that is oft-unclassifiable.

And she keeps getting better. The Virginian was okay, I like it alright, still haven't bought it. Furnace Room Lullaby is mind-blowing however, Blacklisted tops that ever-so-slightly, and her Canadian Amp EP is another fine piece of work.

ham on rye (ham on rye), Monday, 16 June 2003 19:01 (twenty years ago) link

Neko is so very fine.

Sean (Sean), Monday, 16 June 2003 19:03 (twenty years ago) link

Of course Andrew we can have it both ways....Neko + NP = everyone's happy.

ham on rye (ham on rye), Monday, 16 June 2003 19:05 (twenty years ago) link

Neko's been going downhill since Maow broke up. Carl Newman's only good group was Superconductor.

Vic Funk, Monday, 16 June 2003 19:06 (twenty years ago) link

And TV hasn't been good since Milton Berle.

s1utsky (slutsky), Monday, 16 June 2003 19:08 (twenty years ago) link

and paint hasn't tasted the same since they took the lead out.

Horace Mann (Horace Mann), Monday, 16 June 2003 19:09 (twenty years ago) link

Kurt Cobain's songwriting really took a dive when he kilt hisself. And how I miss the hydrogen-fueled dirigible.

ham on rye (ham on rye), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:02 (twenty years ago) link

I've never really thought Destroyer sounded that much like the New Pornographers.

Bruce Urquhart (Bruce Urquhart), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:50 (twenty years ago) link

I really don't think Destroyer sounds like the New Pornographers either. There's a real Bowie fixation on the Destroyer albums that never really makes its way into the Bejar songs on the NP albums.

Fact: I could really do without Bejar's NP songs, even though they are quite good. To me, the appeal of the group is the Case/Newman collaboration.

Matthew Perpetua (Matthew Perpetua), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:55 (twenty years ago) link

You've got to hear those Bejar songs performed live, though, when Carl, Neko, and the drummer sing them in place of Bejar. I personally like the Bejar songs, but they go to a whole 'nother level when they're being belted out by the other folks. I saw them at the Knitting Factory L.A. last week -- great, fun show -- and a couple of Bejar's songs were outright amazing ("Execution Day," "Chump Change"). Incidentally, they closed with an incredible version of Def Leppard's "Action."

Ben Boyer, Monday, 16 June 2003 21:36 (twenty years ago) link

("Action" is actually by the Sweet, though it wouldn't surprise me a bit if the Lep had covered it.)

Sean Thomas (sgthomas), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:42 (twenty years ago) link

New Pornographers > Destroyer (just barely though) >>> Neko Case solo

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:45 (twenty years ago) link

And I do think that there's some Bowie in the non-Bejar NP tunes -- certainly not as much as in Destroyer, and definitely more the Ziggy/Diamond Dogs era than the Hunky Dory vintage that Bejar seems to favor (deja vu, I may have asserted this on another thread).

And, yeah, maybe Carl Newman leans more towards later/poppier glam than Bowie -- in addition to the Sweet's "Action," I've heard them play Sparks's "Throw Her Away (And Get A New One)" as an encore. But it's hardly apples and oranges.

Sean Thomas (sgthomas), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:46 (twenty years ago) link

odd this thread popped up, I was just listening to Electric Version again for the first time in months at the pool today, and good lord what a great summer record

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:46 (twenty years ago) link

most of the criticisms of this criticism on this thread are pretty ridiculous

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:50 (twenty years ago) link

I think everybody's still a little winded from beating up on Andy Wang last week, Jess. Not to mention other, more logistical beatdowns.

Which doesn't mean it isn't a weak argument: "Neko Case hardly appears on the NPs album, therefore she should stop performing her own material." Yeah, that's the traditional career path for the alt-country chanteuse: a few years of twang (y'know, just to get it out of her system), and then settle down into a serious career in glam-inflected power pop. Enough with the dawdling!

(Better? Worse?)

Sean Thomas (sgthomas), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:28 (twenty years ago) link

I guess I should give it a deeper listen (allegedly the lyrics make all the difference or something), but everytime I hear parts of this album it just sounds like frikkin' cartoon music.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:30 (twenty years ago) link

yay for cartoon music!

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:32 (twenty years ago) link

I'll be curious to hear what you make of the lyrics, Anthony: it's easy to mishear them, though I think someone posted them to ILM last month. There are a lot of cryptic quasi-religious allusions that seem sort of strange and out of place amid the cartoonishness. It's like Andrew Eldritch started ghost-writing for Josie and the Pussycats (when in fact I suspect he's been busy with Girls Aloud). I like the meter of them, but I can't make heads or tails of them otherwise...

Sean Thomas (sgthomas), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:41 (twenty years ago) link

I assumed cuz of Neko Case that it would be countryish. My initial reaction was to ask the record store clerk if this was for the Powerpuff Girls soundtrack or the Banana Splits (since I'd never heard them before).

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:00 (twenty years ago) link

I was just listening to Electric Version again for the first time in months

Didn't it come out last month?

Sean (Sean), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:04 (twenty years ago) link

it's been floating around soulseek for awhile

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:05 (twenty years ago) link

it's maybe a better album then I though at first (and I though it was pretty damn good the first time around). all the crit's going all lyrical analysis helped me out also, gave me something to listen for beside 'la la la la di da'. still, the new pornographers are kind of like a super version of the really really good local band everyone likes and nows, but noone obsesses over or argues over really (athens example: the glands). they'll make plenty of albums that'll be among my ten most played that year but probably not any that'll be my most played that year. 'letter from an occupant's greatness so far outstrips everything else it's a bit flukeish in retrospect.

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:10 (twenty years ago) link

I've already got enough Fastbacks records, thank you.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:12 (twenty years ago) link

really anthony, seek out 'letter from an occupant' and 'the laws have changed' and you'll know how much more you need

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:14 (twenty years ago) link

the brunettes album is more fun.

keith (keithmcl), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 02:09 (twenty years ago) link

New Pornographers remind me a lot of Let's Active, and I feel more or less the same way about them: Nice tunes, impressive encyclopedic power pop references, wish the girl sang more...hey, what is this song? I know this...I think I have this...oh yeah, it's New Pornographers. Yeah, these guys are good.

Neko solo would blow them away, if only she wrote somewhat better songs. I still prefer her to them, though, 'cuz she sings lead on all the Neko Case stuff.

JesseFox (JesseFox), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 04:16 (twenty years ago) link

Also, New Pornographers will never make Lolita Nation, no matter how many monkeys they chain to their mixing board.

JesseFox (JesseFox), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 04:19 (twenty years ago) link

i really like the glands

M Matos (M Matos), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 05:37 (twenty years ago) link

yeah, I love love love the glands (even more than I like the new pornographers)

James Blount (James Blount), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 05:41 (twenty years ago) link

i should say i really like the last glands album, dunno any others. and think xgau is WRONG WRONG WRONG about the NPs new one (well more like not right right right enough). also as much as i like neko in whatever realm she is becoming really overrated

M Matos (M Matos), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 05:59 (twenty years ago) link

you know if there's gonna be another glands record, james? last one i heard was from '00

M Matos (M Matos), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 05:59 (twenty years ago) link

yeah, there's still just the two. they still play out (albeit not alot), and opened for yo la tengo for a few dates in the south. there was alot of headaches with the last record, it went out of print like three months after it came out and stayed out of print for awhile, well after the buzz dyed down, costing them the bulk of any sales they might have gotten from it. suffice it to say it left a bad taste in their mouth. I've heard 'there's something in the works' for awhile now, what I've heard at shows has been more slow stuff, which is fine, but one sparklehorse is puh-lenty. it's impossible to gauge from the live shows though - they've always overplayed the slow stuff.

James Blount (James Blount), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 06:29 (twenty years ago) link

that's too bad

M Matos (M Matos), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 06:34 (twenty years ago) link

the one guy who was in the band and then in elf power for a little while started dating a girl like the night before I was gonna move in on her (this girl used to be all over me too), and now they're still together like a year and a half later and everytime I talk to her she's all "I know, I've never dated anyone this long" - wtf?!!! tying this back into the thread, this girl is a redhead.

James Blount (James Blount), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 06:38 (twenty years ago) link

Listen forget Bejar, forget Newman (as in Alfred E.), even forget Case.
The heart and soul of the New Pornographers is the first musician from SK since Joni Mitchell or Buffy Ste-Marie to get a reservation at Valhalla: drummer Kurt Dahle

Horace Mann (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 14:11 (twenty years ago) link

you know -- he's a fucking fine drummer. i can't decide whether his tourette's syndrome faces are endearing or annoying. but man does he do a good job of singing dan's songs.

fields of salmon (fieldsofsalmon), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 14:35 (twenty years ago) link

He might've gone to the same high school as I did.
Anyone who's anyone from Regina went to Sheldon-Williams.
Colin James (dropped out), that guy from the Waltons who has a solo album coming out soon, the dude who directed Wayne's World 2, my friends, me, the list goes on and on.

Horace Mann (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 14:39 (twenty years ago) link

Kurt Dahle is pretty impressive: during the NPs show at NoisePop '02, he launched into an impromptu version of "Breakin' The Law" -- Judas Priest's tune, mind you, not the song from Mass Romantic -- and I can tell you his Rob Halford impression is every bit as good as his Bejar.

Sean Thomas (sgthomas), Tuesday, 17 June 2003 15:22 (twenty years ago) link

NP on Letterman tonight

Aaron A., Wednesday, 18 June 2003 02:56 (twenty years ago) link

I just saw them on Letterman. They did "The Laws Have Changed," which was exactly what I wanted to hear, and the most obvious song to play. Neko looked really pretty, more beautiful than I remember her being from the two times that I've seen the band perform.

Carl looks more like Howdy Doody with each passing day.

Matthew Perpetua (Matthew Perpetua), Wednesday, 18 June 2003 03:56 (twenty years ago) link

Upon first listen I like the one song that is available as a single.

And Your Borad Can Zing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:03 (ten months ago) link

I will always adore the first four albums, but tbh the album I play the most these days is Whiteout Conditions.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:31 (ten months ago) link

Same, mostly, although every time I reset I shore up my appreciation for at least one more of the other albums.

And Your Borad Can Zing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:34 (ten months ago) link

In order of how frequently I still play them (maybe slightly more objective than ranking by “favorite”? At least it spares me agonizing over placing Electric Version so low)

Whiteout Conditions
Mass Romantic
Electric Version
Twin Cinema
In the Morse Code of Brake Lights
Brill Bruisers

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:36 (ten months ago) link

I would put Twin Cinema higher and bump Brill Bruisers a place but yeah.

And Your Borad Can Zing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:39 (ten months ago) link

Twin Cinema's my favorite. I underrated WC.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:44 (ten months ago) link

Brill and Together are a tier unto themselves. The only reason I rate BB higher is “war on the east coast”

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, 3 February 2023 17:07 (ten months ago) link

"War on the East Coast" is my fave NP song.

Agree that the new single is solid.

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Friday, 3 February 2023 17:11 (ten months ago) link

that and Backstairs are my fav 2

nxd, Friday, 3 February 2023 17:29 (ten months ago) link

Together is their weakest and is still pretty good. The last three albums have been consistent and sometimes great, but they still blend in together in my head (though I voted for Brill Bruisers in the ILX Teens poll). I'm going to re-listen today to sort them out.

Halfway there but for you, Friday, 3 February 2023 17:57 (ten months ago) link

i prefer the jap movie

CerebralCaustic, Saturday, 4 February 2023 00:25 (ten months ago) link

I hadn't listened to In the Morse Code of Brake Lights for two years, it turns out it was pretty strong. I haven't missed Bejar on the last two albums because I found his songs on Brill Bruisers were the weak links. Sequencers really gave them a shot of energy that they seemed to be losing on Challengers and Together.

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 6 February 2023 15:32 (ten months ago) link

one month passes...

Sounds good so far.

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 March 2023 16:05 (eight months ago) link

Official tomorrow?

It’s Only Her Factory, Girl! (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 30 March 2023 16:11 (eight months ago) link

lol why on earth is this thread marked NSFW

obsidian crocogolem (sleeve), Thursday, 30 March 2023 16:16 (eight months ago) link

Certain picture of Neko maybe?

It’s Only Her Factory, Girl! (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 30 March 2023 17:12 (eight months ago) link

Ooh this is a very vibey record. Most of the albums post-Twin Cinema have had more buried hooks than the first three, and take repeated listens (or distracted listening) to really sink in. This one's doing that too but in a fresh way.

ⓓⓡ (Johnny Fever), Friday, 31 March 2023 04:45 (eight months ago) link

lol why on earth is this thread marked NSFW

― obsidian crocogolem (sleeve), Thursday, March 30, 2023 11:16 AM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

naughty artist name

ludicrously capacious bag (voodoo chili), Friday, 31 March 2023 14:52 (eight months ago) link

The name Old Pornographers was taken.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Friday, 31 March 2023 19:30 (eight months ago) link

The Old Weird Cartographers.

Little Big Man Yells at Red Cloud (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 31 March 2023 19:32 (eight months ago) link

Professor Clank and the Old Weird Cartographer Society

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Friday, 31 March 2023 19:33 (eight months ago) link


Little Big Man Yells at Red Cloud (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 31 March 2023 19:37 (eight months ago) link

“Pontus Pilate” could almost be a Radiohead tune circa amnesiac

calstars, Saturday, 1 April 2023 21:31 (eight months ago) link

This is slack -- the tempos, that is.

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 1 April 2023 21:59 (eight months ago) link

I have a kneejerk allergy to saxophones in rock music, and as much as I try to overcome that, I can already tell I’m just not going to come back to this album as much as I do their others.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Saturday, 1 April 2023 23:22 (eight months ago) link

The saxes are meh too. I prefer Goon Sax.

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 1 April 2023 23:34 (eight months ago) link

Believe we even have a thread about that

Little Big Man Yells at Red Cloud (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 1 April 2023 23:34 (eight months ago) link

New Pornographers Are Alright If You Like Saxophones

not normally one for horns in general when it comes to rock music – but i feel like it *really* works on the title track.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 3 April 2023 15:48 (eight months ago) link

Really like the sax, it gives me a Psych Furs vibe, which is a very good thing.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 4 April 2023 22:53 (eight months ago) link

Not as sleazy.

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 4 April 2023 22:53 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

Going to see the New Pornographers tonight. Have been a fan since Twin Cinema. Very surprised that they’re playing an old theater right in my backyard in suburban CT. This place seems to mostly host tribute bands, but over the years one of my favorites shows up: X, Paul Westerberg, Conor Oberst, and now the New Pornos. Here are the top 20 songs I’m hoping to hear tonight:

1. Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile
2. The Bleeding Heart Show
3. Sing Me Spanish Techno
4. The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism
5. Another Drug Deal of the Heart
6. Failsafe
7. All the Old Showstoppers
8. Challengers
9. Brill Bruisers
10. Born With a Sound

Justineyukon, Sunday, 14 May 2023 20:18 (six months ago) link

Only meant to list 10, but since I misstyped 20, I’ll continue:

11. Dancehall Domine
12. Myriad Harbour
13. Go Places
14. From Blown Speakers
15. Twin Cinema
16. Moves
17. High Ticket Attractions
18. We End Up Together
19. The Spirit of Giving
20. The Laws Have Changed

Justineyukon, Sunday, 14 May 2023 20:24 (six months ago) link

was discussing this in another online spot: they're going the wrong direction in terms of draw.

enjoy, though! still the best rock band of the past two decades.

alpine static, Monday, 15 May 2023 01:22 (six months ago) link

Saw them last week, they were ... OK. But that happens to everyone.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 15 May 2023 01:29 (six months ago) link

lemme say that I am shooked! SHOOKED and STOONED, per Barry Wom, that there is another Ilxor living in Fairfield County! Mostly finance people into Dave Matthews, Dead & Co, Phish and so forth, so its nice to know there's another ILMnik lurking around.

In said county, I wanna support shit like this band doing a show at a venue 15 minutes from my house, because it is slim, geriatric pickings almost all of the time…you have to go to New Haven to see current acts, and I have very small children, so going to NYC is challenging… and in fact, that Nu Porns were booked at Wall St Theater at all indicates that they are more geriatric than not…when I saw this band in 2001, 2005 and 2015, they came out all guns blazing each time and would settle down for some subdued shit but were mostly there to throw down…even at Prospect Park Bandshell, in front of thousands of Slope-ites whom the band resembles, they TOE SHIT UP… but last night, it was gray and white hair, bald heads, seated in the venue…to me, seated audience = not enough energy. Josh and Alpine seem to be saying that the band is mostly listless no matter what, but it seems to me that even a late 40s/early 50s crowd on its feet can transmit sufficient energy back at the band…Carl (my wife, who doesn't follow music at all but admires Neko, called him "Ed Begley Jr.") and Neko barely kept up any of the sort of patter I remember them being quite good at…they did get going at the end, and so I wanna blame the crowd, who may rep for legacy indie rock but ultimately are uptight CT people too concerned with their own comfort. There is room at the back of the venue at the bar for people to stand and respond physically to the music, so that helped a bit. Do you remember what Carl said about Norwalk, Justineyukon?

Says it all, really, that me and my buddy from Sheffield, talked a bit, possibly too loudly, and were indignantly shushed by two sets of couples, one who exclaimed "WE'VE BEEN WAITING THREE YEARS FOR LIVE MUSIC!!!" My friend got his back up. pissed that american stick in the muds now come to rock shows and demand hushed, attentive respect…he doesn't know the band and this ruined the show for him, but they did "Mass Romantic," "Slow Descent," "bleeding Heart show" (a very very moving song")… I am happy the band came to my area, but do I have to be resigned that music designed to be kinetic will occasionally be subject to aging indie rock who want to sit down? Is this what National shows are like?

veronica moser, Monday, 15 May 2023 14:57 (six months ago) link

xpost: "aging indie rock fans"

veronica moser, Monday, 15 May 2023 15:00 (six months ago) link

Doesn't Neko live in New England?

My fave they played here was ... "July Jones"? I liked hearing that again. But yeah, I've seen them a bunch over the years, in increasingly big places (not huge, but bigger than where I used to see them), and they'd always put on a pretty good show. This one (one of two sold out shows in a maybe 1000 person venue) was relatively listless, or at least not particularly fun, compared to how I remembered them. That said, there were two rapt guys in front of us (I was in a balcony spot, so most people were sitting) that hung on every word. For comparison's sake, a couple of people I was with absolutely loved them, but one of them worships Neko. Another person I was with, a more casual fan though nonetheless one familiar with their whole catalog, thought the set was weighed down by the new stuff, not in an old fan likes older stuff sort of way, just that she thinks the new stuff is much more subdued.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 15 May 2023 15:28 (six months ago) link

I saw them on tour for their last album cycle and they were terrific. I have hard time believing their love show has fallen off that considerably, from just one cycle to the next. Granted, we had a whole pandemic in between so maybe some shit has happened.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Monday, 15 May 2023 15:56 (six months ago) link

They're playing Brooklyn Steel and tickets are pretty affordable - is Neko definitely with them the entire tour?

FWIW, I saw that Prospect Park show in 2015 - I thought it was okay, but by then I was kind of losing interest in them. I managed to see them in 2006 and Neko was part of the band - a nice surprise as IIRC she wasn't actually touring with them. I think it happened because she was living around Chicago at the time and didn't have a tour going on herself. That was an excellent show and it was probably the peak of my fandom - Twin Cinema had come out and it's probably still my favorite album of theirs.

birdistheword, Monday, 15 May 2023 18:28 (six months ago) link

First of all, I didn't say they were listless this time, I said their draw is shrinking. No worries, just wanted to clarify.

HOWEVER ... I do think they're generally a little bit listless, at least in recent years. I've seen them three times: First in 2003 and they were great, then in 2010 and they were listless (but also touring on what I think is their worst album, Together), and again in 2017, and they were great, but they were great because of the *songs* not because they gave a great performance. (There were other tangential circumstances that made me love them that time, too.)

The real fuel for the listlessness is just the lack of personality that comes through anymore ... if Carl and Neko were once great at banter, they really aren't these days. (Neko is definitely still better at it than Carl.) They mostly look like they're going through the motions, *especially* Blaine Thurier (who is no longer with the band, but was a vibe-killer when he was). Carl's affect looks more like a mix of "a little nervous + lots to do and trying not to mess up + going through the motions" ... I think he enjoys what he does, mostly, but he just doesn't really act like it.

I haven't seen them on this tour, but if they seem listless this time, I would suggest that it's because the setlists are heavy with songs from an album that's just OK. I'm not sure they have the show to carry dreary songs anymore.

Maybe the next album will be a Brill Bruisers-style return to form and I'll pounce on the chance to see them again, but otherwise, it might be time - for me, at least - to prioritize anniversary shows focused on the albums I really love. (I missed the Mass Romantic / Electric Version tour and it still bums me out.)

alpine static, Monday, 15 May 2023 20:13 (six months ago) link

Yeah, I should stress, it wasn't a bad show, as such. Just ... fine. Rarely exultant.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 15 May 2023 20:16 (six months ago) link

I thought it was a pretty good concert, despite the subdued, elderly audience. They played 5 of the 10 songs I most wanted to hear. Seven songs from the new album was a bit much, though. Hearing Neko Case sing just about anything was worth the price of admission.

Veronica, sorry to hear the uptight Connecticuters dampened your enjoyment. What Carl said about Norwalk was something along the lines of “I think I am correct in the assumption that we have never played Norwalk before.” I doubt they’ll ever be back, but I’ll hold out hope that they’ll return someday with Dan Bejar in tow.

Justineyukon, Monday, 15 May 2023 21:54 (six months ago) link

sad to hear the pit at new pornographers shows back in the day got pretty violent

welcome to the thread!

alpine static, Monday, 15 May 2023 23:31 (six months ago) link

They haven't quite been the same since they dropped the growling and blast beats.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 16 May 2023 00:00 (six months ago) link

five months pass...

Just got out of the Vancouver show. You could tell, every time, when they were playing a song from the new album. Lack of dynamics, a turgid kinda vibe, it’s just not good. The Neko replacement, when she was singing in unison with Kathryn, sounded eerily lifelike — but of course none of the stage presence and just plain old charisma and star power of Neko.

First half of the show was kinda tentative and very heavy on the new stuff. They picked up a lot toward the end, leaning more on hits (including a surprise visit from “Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk”) and ofc ending with “The Bleeding Heart Show” which ejected us from the venue in the right mood.

I don’t think they played anything from Brill Bruisers or Morse Codeat all.

Bejar showed up and sang a few — “Myriad Harbour” and “A Testament To Youth In Verse” were great — I’m really inclined to dislike him but the song choices were spot on.

There’s a new touring member, whom we dubbed “Band Camp”, didn’t catch her name, playing saxophone & keys & flute. She looked like she was terrified of making a mistake.

Overall it was a careful and well constructed show, with flashes of glory — mostly concentrated in the songs from the first 4 albums. Not sad I went at all, but a very different thing than it was 20 years ago (obv to be expected).

Still the best power pop band ever, fite me about it.

The land of dreams and endless remorse (hardcore dilettante), Wednesday, 15 November 2023 07:26 (three weeks ago) link

no need to fite, you are correct

if you didn't, scroll up and see the convo from May about them. i think this is just the NPs experience now.

alpine static, Wednesday, 15 November 2023 18:28 (three weeks ago) link

I saw them live in Baltimore in… 2001, I think? Still one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. But not sure if I would go today, haven’t really kept up.

The Triumphant Return of Bernard & Stubbs (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 15 November 2023 18:56 (three weeks ago) link

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