Though it’s been four long years since the New Pornographers’ last album (2010’s “Together”), lead singer A.C. Newman says it wasn’t intended to seem like a long gap.
“For me, it wasn’t like I was waiting around,” he says. “Right around the time when we were finishing up touring on the last Pornographers record, I found out my wife was pregnant. And then my son was born in February 2012, and then I put out my solo album around the end of 2012, and then as soon as I finished that, I thought, 'All right, time to do a Pornographers record.'”
The result is "Brill Bruisers," an upbeat rocker of a new album. The name comes from the famed Brill Building in New York, where generations of songwriters punched the clock and penned a cavalcade of hits. Carole King spent some time in its hallowed halls, as did Neil Diamond.
As to what it was about the building that inspired the band, Newman says, “A lot of great songwriters came out of there."
"I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a song factory," he says. "It’s from another time, another age.”
Of course, the music industry is a little less factory-focused right now, but as Newman jokes, “I’m sure there’s another Brill Building right now. I think it’s in Sweden.”
The upbeat sound of the album was fairly intentional (it's nearly impossible not to bob your head along to the swelling beats of the title track which opens the album). Newman had just come off of a more downbeat solo album, 2012’s “Shut Down the Streets.”
“My last solo record was sort of down tempo. It was very consciously sad, with a certain type of singer/songwriter low-key vibe, so once I got that out of my system, I thought, 'It would be great to make a really upbeat record,'” he says.
As the group heads into their 15th year, and all the band members find solo success (particularly Neko Case, who Newman says is the hardest to schedule around), the question arises of what the future might hold for the group, now on their sixth album. Not to worry, says Newman.
“There’s so much music in the world to be inspired by. Any given artist touches on so little in their career. I feel like there’s an endless amount of permutations. There’s an endless amount of music that can be made.”
Preparing his legacy
Newman is a new father, but says it hasn’t changed what he likes to write about.
“You find yourself being very much the same person,” he says. However, “It makes me think more of like a legacy that I’m leaving for my son. But all that doesn’t make me want to be better. It doesn’t make change the way I write music. It just makes me want to be as good as possible.”
To see if the band is touring near you, go to www.thenewpornographers.com/tour.