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A New Pornographer in Town

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The New Pornographers, with A.C. Newman in the V-neck sweater.  

Newman says he immediately felt more at home here than he ever did in Vancouver. He’s particularly excited about joining the local music scene—much more so, it seems, than he was about belonging to the Great Canadian Band Invasion. Though he calls groups like Arcade Fire a source of “patriotic pride,” he looks forward to hanging out more with the Hold Steady, whom he calls “lovable, well-read, thirtysomething semi-alcoholics.” Their singer, Craig Finn, recently described the New Pornographers in a way Newman appreciated. “He was talking about our song ‘Sing Me Spanish Techno,’” Newman says, referring to the raucous, semi-nonsensical hit from their last album. “He liked it because, he said, ‘It’s a song where you don’t know what he’s singing about, but you know you feel the exact same way.’”

But if there is a song that sums up Newman’s mood these days, it might be one of those new love songs, the spare “Go Places.” It’s about Newman’s love, yes, but it’s sung by Case. “No one needs to hear another guy sing about a girl,” he says. “I just thought her voice would give it a little more power than my weak-ass voice.” Newman was initially hesitant even to include his new wife’s name in “Go Places,” but he’s clearly pleased he decided to do so, even puffing up a bit. “Actually, our producer had to commend me at one point. He said, ‘That’s pretty gutsy. That’s a gutsy song.’ ”

And what does “Go Places” say? “It’s a kind of ‘I’m ready’” song, says Newman. “I’m happy right now, but I’m ready for whatever sadness the world throws at us.” Though maybe, just maybe, his two new loves (New York among them), will keep that sadness at bay. “Every time I see some young, geeky red-haired guy, I want to single him out in the crowd and go, ‘You too can have this life!’” Newman says. “It’s not that difficult.”


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