The New Pornographers released their latest album, Brill Bruisers, in the summer of 2014 to loads of critical acclaim. Just like pretty much all of their previous five albums have. From 2000 to 2006, either a New Pornographers' album or a solo album from one of the band's members ranked in the top 40 on the list each year. For real. They're a real life Canadian Supergroup that I've been a fan of since 2000's Mass Romantic. It almost annoyed me by how well crafted it all was, but that soon passed and songs like "My slow descent into alcoholism", "Letter from an Occupant" and "To Wild Homes" entered the hallowed halls of my all time favorite song pantheon. Led by Carl Newman, this Hydra-like band is a formidable crew of top notch songwriters and musicians, including Neko Case and Dan Bejar (Destroyer). Carl is a master craftsman as far as songwriters go, almost clinical in his method of finding those perfect hooks. I remember once asking him about a lyric from his 2004 solo album, The Slow Wonder, when we were on tour together that Fall. In the song, Come Crash, the line goes "Christine, come crash on my floor," so I asked, "why wouldn't you at least let her crash on the couch?" To which he replied something to the effect of, "It's alliteration, Christine Come Crash... That's the important part, it's a pop song." Enough said.
The album title, among other things, is a reference to the Brill Building -- where in the late 50s and 60s, groups of hot shot songwriters churned out innumerable hits destined for the airwaves. They even played live there recently for NPR Music. In Newman's own words, "“Even though I hesitate to give it any exact meaning, I like the idea that it’s bruising songs in the style of the Brill Building,” the legendary office tower where the greatest pop songwriters of the 1960s pumped out their classics. “Or, it makes sense as just short for brilliant. The whole idea of being a brilliant bruiser—isn’t that what everybody ultimately strives for, or what a person needs to succeed in this world? To be really intelligent and really strong at the same time? It just seemed to match this group of songs somehow.” Well, there you go. The man has a way with words, even outside of his songwriting. His live tweeting of the recent Oscars was hilarious and insightful as well.
Check the video.