31 Days Of Music: “Crash Years”

The New Pornographers might just be the band I’ve enjoyed most during my 11-year prairie dog era. I am a sucker for upbeat, jangly pop with great hooks, beautiful harmonies, chuggy guitars and wacky lyrics. The NPs fit the bill and I’ll be forever grateful* to 31 Days Of Music architect Emmet Matheson for introducing me to them a decade or so ago.

The New Pornographers are essentially a Canadian supergroup led by Vancouver’s Carl Newman and given ironclad legitimacy by the incomparable¬†Neko Case (a one-time Vancouverite who’s an honourary Canadian). Newman and Destroyer’s Dan Bejar have been principle songwriters through the group’s history. Rounding out the lineup are Blaine Thurier (keyboards), Kathryn Calder (vocals, piano and awesomeness), John Collins (bass and¬†miscellaneous), Todd Fancey (guitar), and the band’s drummer, Saskatchewan escapee Kurt Dahle (Age Of Electric, Limblifter).

Earlier this year they released Together, their fifth studio album and my favorite since their first. The full lineup visited Saskatoon for a show I had tickets for but couldn’t make and I’ll be sad forever as a result. Though I did get to see the band when they played the Regina Folk Festival in bizarre sub-zero temperatures in ¬†2002.

Here’s the video for “Crash Years”, which I would’ve guessed was making a subtle point or two about economic collapse but the band says it’s about the late George Harrison’s song “You”:

The ruins are wild, the ruins are wild… tonight will be an open mic…”

The group, by the way, are not named after evangelist Jimmy Swaggart’s famous quote but the band is doubtless thrilled by the unintended association. Except maybe when it gets their shows cancelled by dunderheaded, censorious American colleges.

*No cash value.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

2 thoughts on “31 Days Of Music: “Crash Years””

  1. Ha, I remember 5 or 6 (? it’s all so hazy) years ago, The New Pornographers were all over prairie dog and Planet S. Finally, I said “Fuck it, they must be decent if they can’t shut up about them” and looked them up. Thanks!

    (Now I can’t really listen to them so much anymore since I way overdid it, but I have no regrets, Your Honour)

  2. I know all about the dangers of beating bands to death. I have murdered many, many musicians in this life. The new album’s good though. You should investigate it.

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