The New Pornographers bring 'Brake Lights' to The Current studio

The New Pornographers perform 'Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile' from their 2019 album, 'In The Morse Code of Brake Lights,' live in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
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The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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| 00:18:41
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio (full session + interview) 18:41
  • The New Pornographers - Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile (Live at The Current) 03:43
  • The New Pornographers - Higher Beams (Live at The Current) 03:53
  • The New Pornographers - The Surprise Knock (Live at The Current) 03:20

The New Pornographers are a band with an impressive history. The Vancouver-based group have played together for more than 20 years, and in that time, the band members have released dozens of albums, both with the band and in their own projects. But for singer/guitarist Carl Newman, writing a New Pornographers album still feels like taking a risk.

"Every time we make a record, it feels like a leap of faith," Newman tells Mary Lucia.

Even just getting all of the band's members in the studio at the same time can be a challenging feat. On a recent day off from touring, Newman was surprised to find four of the band's musicians recording together. "There's not usually a situation where there are that many of us in a studio," he says.

The New Pornographers visited The Current studio to chat with Mary Lucia and to perform songs from their new album In The Morse Code of Brake Lights, which they released on Sept. 27.

Newman is a familiar face at The Current — the Canadian singer-songwriter has performed in the studio several times, both as A.C. Newman and with the New Pornographers. At this session, the band's seven members stood in a semi-circle that stretched from one end of the studio to the other. Joining Newman were bassist John Collins, keyboardist/synth player Blaine Thurier, keyboardist Kathryn Calder, violinist Simi Stone, drummer Joe Seiders, and guitarist Todd Fancey.

In addition to playing music, the New Pornographers enjoy a variety of other creative outlets. Violinist Simi Stone enjoys painting and recently lent her artistic skills to the band by designing one of their t-shirts. Keyboardist Kathryn Calder is fascinated by psychology and spends time "reading about the mind, thinking about it, and doing yoga." Newman says her calm and reflective nature helps keep the band in check.

The New Pornographers came to town to perform at First Avenue, the longtime stomping grounds of Minnesota's music legends including Prince, and more recently, Lizzo. "I would freak out if Lizzo was there," said Newman about the iconic Minneapolis venue.

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Songs Performed

"Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile"
"Higher Beams"
"The Surprise Knock"
All songs from the New Pornographers' 2019 album, In The Morse Code of Brake Lights, available on Concord Records.

Hosted by Mary Lucia
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Anna Havermann
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Colleen Cowie

External Link

The New Pornographers - official site

15 Photos

  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    John Collins, Kathryn Calder, and Blaine Thurier in The Current Studio with the New Pornographers. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Simi Stone, Todd Fancey, and John Collins performing in The Current studio with the New Pornographers. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Carl Newman in The Current studio with the New Pornographers. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Carl Newman's guitar pedals in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Carl Newman performing in The Current studio with the New Pornographers. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Guitarist Todd Fancey in The Current studio with the New Pornographers. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Bassist John Collins in The Current studio with the New Pornographers. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Guitarist Todd Fancey in The Current studio with the New Pornographers. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Keyboardist Kathryn Calder performing with the New Pornographers in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Drummer Joe Seiders performing with the New Pornographers in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    The headstock of Carl Newman's guitar in The Current studio for the New Pornographers session. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Guitarist Todd Fancey performing with the New Pornographers in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • The New Pornographers perform in The Current studio.
    Carl Newman's music stand for the New Pornographers session in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Carl Newman, Blaine Thurier, and Kathryn Calder performing at The Current
    Carl Newman, Blaine Thurier, and Kathryn Calder of the New Pornographers in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Guitarist Todd Fancey in The Current studio with the New Pornographers.
    Guitarist Todd Fancey performing in The Current studio with the New Pornographers. (Nate Ryan | MPR)