Stupid Poetic Justice…

I’m thrilled to report that a vinyl compendium of brilliant new songs by the venerable New Pornographers has just arrived in my mailbox. It’s called Whiteout Conditions, and it’s eleven new tracks of pure power-pop glory. 

Unfortunately, it arrived just as central Alberta has been caught in the throes of an actual whiteout. On Easter weekend!


Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to heading downstairs to the trusty man-cave with a beer or three and giving this new, blue musical platter an inaugural spin. 

I see from the liner notes that Neko Case was part of the recordings, and I’ve heard that she’s going to be on the tour, too. Cool! But not the inimitable Dan Bejar, who is sitting this NP record out. Presumably he has a new Destroyer album and tour in the works this year. Bejar’s oddball songs are often the perfect counterpoint to A.C. Newman’s clever, electric pop confections. Most charmingly, I think Bejar comes up with his song titles by randomly flipping through a dictionary and picking the first three words that catch his eye. Look for “Verily Trombone Unicorn” to feature prominently on a future New Pornographers release 🙂

For now, as the snow continues to pile up outside, it’s always great to unwrap new music by Canada’s greatest exporters of intelligent power-pop. To the man-cave I go!


Upcoming Music Releases – January 2012

10 January 2012

Snow Patrol – Fallen Empires

The heart-on-sleeve British alt-pop-rockers’ latest album gets a North American release, after receiving positive reviews in the UK and elsewhere.  This time out, production duties are handled by Jacknife Lee, who last paired up with main Snow Patroller Gary Lightbody and friends for their Tired Pony side-project.  The deluxe edition of Fallen Empires includes a ten-song DVD recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall.

Jellyfish – Bellybutton and Spilt Milk

The San Franciscans’ immaculate power-pop gems from the early 1990s, long out of print, are set to be re-released.  On vinyl!  If you have always wanted to know what the Beach Boys would sound like with alt rock guitars, buy these albums and revel in the unadulterated joy.  More hooks than a tackle box.

24 January 2012

Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes

The Hold Steady’s front man steps away from the day job to release a ‘solo’ album.  Reportedly recorded in Austin, TX last year, expect this album to sound considerably less polished than the Hold Steady’s E-Street Band affectations.

John K. Samson – Provincial

Ditto for The Weakerthans’ front man.  Advance word is that Provincial is a road album, telling stories about places and characters along Manitoba’s highways and byways.  Like Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska with a poetic flair.  Samson once perfectly captured the essence of a small-town curling rink with “Tournament of Hearts” – I’m excited to see what he comes up with on the barren back roads of my homeland.

31 January 2012

Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

Septuagenarian, one-time Buddhist monk, and Canadian musical legend returns with a new studio album as a follow-up to his well-received 2008-2010 tour.  The tour was documented in an exceptional DVD recorded at the O2 Arena in London; it’s a master-class in slow-burning musical passion, while Cohen has 20,000 enraptured concert goers in the palm of his hand.

Gotye – Making Mirrors

You’ve probably heard the new single “Somebody That I Used To Know” on modern rock radio by now.  The full album from Belgium’s (by way of Australia) Wally de Backer gets a release at the end of January.  A cover version of the cool first single (see link below) has recently gone viral.