Music / The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers are an Indie Rock and/or Power Pop (depending on who you ask) Supergroup with origins in Vancouver, BC. Formed in the late Nineties, they released their first album, Mass Romantic, in 2000.

Being as they are a supergroup, all of the members had significant careers before the band started, and most still do. However, the band really launched them up into the heights of indie fame.


  • Dan Bejar (of Destroyer, Swan Lake, and Hello, Blue Roses)- Vocals, keyboards, multi-instrumentals
  • A. C. Newman (solo, and also Zumpano and Superconductor) - Vocals, guitar, more or less everything else
  • John Collins (of The Evaporators) - Bass, guitar, more or less everything else
  • Kathryn Calder (of Immaculate Machine) - Vocals, piano, other keyboards
  • Neko Case (solo, and also Maow, Corn Sisters and Cub) - Vocals
  • Kurt Dahle (of Limblifter and Age of Electric) - Drums, assorted percussion
  • Todd Fancey (solo, and also Limblifter) - Guitar, mandolin, banjo
  • Blaine Thurier (former filmmaker) - Some really freakin' weird instruments. And a sampler.

Most songs are written by Newman, with Bejar and Collins making a few contributions on most albums.


  • Mass Romantic (2000)
  • Electric Version (2003)
  • Twin Cinema (2005)
  • Challengers (2007)
  • Together (2010)
  • Brill Bruisers (2014)
  • Whiteout Conditions (2017)

Tropes associated with this band include:

  • Absentee Actor: Whiteout Conditions is their first album without Dan Bejar - He didn't leave the group, he just sat this one out to work on new Destroyer material.
  • Canada, Eh?
  • Cover Version: "Think About Me" by Fleetwood Mac, "Don't Bring Me Down" by Electric Light Orchestra, and "Your Daddy Don't Know" by Toronto
  • Descent into Addiction: "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism" describes, well, a slow descent into alcoholism.
  • Double Subversion: The song "Execution Day" features this lyric:
    On this day which began as execution day
    And sure enough became execution day
  • Droste Image: They used TV monitors to create this effect in the video for "Letter From an Occupant."
  • Fading into the Next Song: On Brill Bruisers, "War on the East Coast" fades into "Backstairs".
  • In the Style of...: "My Rights Versus Yours" is done in the style of mid-late sixties The Beach Boys. The band also held a YouTube contest promoting Challengers challenging fans to cover their own songs in the really smooth style of Michael McDonald.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Their name, which is hardly indicative of their oeuvre. For that matter, the song "Entering White Cecilia" doesn't appear to have anything to do with sex other than its titular line (although they have claimed that it does).
  • Leave the Camera Running: The music video for "Crash Years" features a static aerial view of a portion of a brick street, as people walk by holding umbrellas, riding on bicycles and other miscellaneous stuff happens below the camera.
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: A.C. Newman takes this trope and just runs with it. He's admitted that a lot of his lyrics don't really mean anything, that he just uses whatever sounds best in the song, or will use certain words because their vowels and consonants go well with a melody.
  • Mama Bear: At a show in Boston, someone tossed a CD at the stage, striking A. C. Newman's guitar. Newman was, at best, confused. NEKO CASE WAS PISSED.
  • New Sound Album: Brill Bruisers has a much more noticeable reliance on synthesizers and a denser sound in general. Also, Challengers was composed almost entirely of ballads, but this didn't carry over into their subsequent material.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The Hour CBC previously used "Use It" (off of Twin Cinema) before switching to "The Good In Everyone" by Sloan.
  • Shout-Out: There's a common misconception that their name is an ironic reference to evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who once called rock and roll "the new pornography"; A.C Newman claims he'd never heard the quote before he started the band, and was instead inspired by The Pornographers, a Japanese Black Comedy film from 1966.
  • Supergroup: As previously noted. Though they've stated that they don't really like the term, since the group is far more well known than any of its members' other work.
  • Surreal Music Video: The one for "Myriad Harbor" follows a man with a giant head of hair that grows without control, eventually growing other heads that all start singing in unison. Also counts as Deranged Animation.
    • It's Dan Bejar!
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Neko Case remains a member of the band as female lead. However, her other commitments (being an alt-country heroine, or a whacked-out pop princess) does mean she is not always available to tour with the band. Part of the reason Kathryn Calder was hired was to serve as female lead on tour, so that they could tour independently of Neko's schedule. Recently she's appeared as the lead singer on some recordings as well.
  • Title Drop: The first three albums all opened with songs with the same title as the album (well, the song was called "The Electric Version," but let's not split hairs, shall we?), which also included the album title as a lyric in the song. Challengers also had a song entitled "Challengers," but it was the third track.
    • "Together" is a weird case, since depending how you look at it, it can either have no title song or two title songs — "Your Hands (Together)" and the closing song "We End Up Together".
  • Token Minority: Neko Case is a Token American in a Canadian band (born in Virginia, raised in Washington State).
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Again, A.C. Newman's songs often end up like this.