New Pornographers perfect their signature sound 

It seems impossible for people to discuss the New Pornographers without mentioning the band’s disparate and unique personalities.

Yet for a group celebrated for eclecticism, the New Pornographers do a pretty good job of sounding just like the New Pornographers on every album.

“I think it’s something we’ve realized over the years. No matter what we do, it’s inescapable, we’re going to sound like us,” says Carl Newman, frontman and chief songwriter for the group, who play the Fox Theater this week, part of Noise Pop Festival 2015. “I’ve actually worried a lot less about us over the years, because I know that, in the end, we’ll have our sound. And thankfully, I think people appreciate that.”v Featuring virtuosos such as Newman, Dan Bejar (principal of the band Destroyer) and acclaimed solo artist Neko Case, the New Pornographers have released six beloved albums of flawless power-pop in 15 years.

Yet it’s been saddled with the “supergroup” label, as if it’s a team of hired guns and not a cohesive unit consisently producing meticulously-crafted indie rock. “It’s a weird thing,” says Newman, also a successful solo act. “People write about this band as if they’re trying to play us against each other, which is a weird way to discuss our music. But that’s their headache, not mine.”

Beginning with 2005’s touted debut “Mass Romantic” and reaching a high point in 2005 with “Twin Cinema,” the New Pornographers don’t have a dud in their discography. The streak continued with 2014’s “Brill Bruisers,” which has an immediacy and warmth that harkens back to the days of “Twin Cinema.” v When it came out, Newman called it a “celebration album.”

Today, he says, “For whatever reason, it was just a mellower time for me when we were recording ‘Brill Bruisers.’ I don’t know — it was spring and summer when we were making it I guess. Nothing too profound.”

While Bejar contributes about 3-4 songs for each New Pornographers album, Newman writes most of the material.

Already working on a fresh batch of songs for a New Pornographers record, he admits he doesn’t know when the band will make another album.

In the interim, it continues to tour, including Saturday’s Bay Area appearance. In October, it played for 50 minutes at the Treasure Island Music Festival.

“It was weird playing such a short set,” says Newman, a one-time San Francisco resident. “I think we’re all excited about getting to play a lot more songs this time.”


The New Pornographers

Presented by Noise Pop Festival 2015

Where: Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28

Tickets: $35

Contact: (510) 302-2250,,

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Will Reisman

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