I’ll be the first to admit that A.C. Newman’s solo work has an awful lot in common with his ‘mainstream’ work with The New Pornographers – considering he’s a lead vocalist and songwriter in both projects, I suppose it makes sense that his particular brand of arrhythmic rock-pop would be a common denominator.

The line between the two is particularly blurred when comparing Challengers, TNP’s most recent release, with Newman’s brand new Get Guilty. Before Challengers, The New Pornographers’ sound focussed mainly on tricky rhythms underlining harmonious vocals to form catchy-yet-complex pop hits. Newman’s first solo album, The Slow Wonder, took a different slant on his style of songwriting, delving in heavier electric guitar and some country twang to accompany simpler rhythms and melodies than TNP offered. Challengers reflected a more introspective attitude from The New Pornographers, focussing more on acoustic sounds and single melody lines. And now Get Guilty finds Newman moving his side project towards the New Pornographer’s trademark complex rhythms and melodies, while dressing down the guitars to the acoustic sensibility of Challengers. It basically feels like the two projects are meeting in the middle – sounding to my ears like two parts of the same whole rather than distinct projects in their own right. And honestly, I couldn’t be more content with it (double the TNP is double the fun!), as both albums show the softer, sweeter side of what Newman does best.

A.C. Newman – Prophets
A.C. Newman – The Hearbreak Rides

For comparison’s sake:

The New Pornographers – My Right Versus Yours

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— , January 22, 2009    3 Comments

The first ever Ca Va Cool mix includes some highlights from the writers’ favourite albums, EPs, and singles of 2007. Pretty representative of what was important this year in indie pop, rock, and dance (indie being a sound, attitude, and aesthetic, rather than commercial means). This was a team effort, and you know what they say about herd mentality: it’s never wrong.

01. Spoon – The Underdog
02. Shout Out Louds – Tonight I Have to Leave It
03. Tokyo Police Club – Box
04. The Teenagers – Homecoming
05. The Shins – Australia
06. Radiohead – House of Cards
07. Basia Bulat – I Was a Daughter
08. M.I.A. – Paper Planes
09. The New Pornographers – My Right Versus Yours
10. Panda Bear – Comfy in Nautica
11. The National – Slow Show
12. Miracle Fortress – Maybe Lately
13. Two Hours Traffic – Stuck for the Summer
14. LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
15. Jens Lekman – The Opposite of Hallelujah
16. Handsome Furs – Handsome Furs Hate This City
17. Feist – Past in Present
18. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.
19. Stars – Window Bird
20. The Cribs – Moving Pictures
21. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Satan Said Dance
22. Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
23. Band of Horses – Is There a Ghost
24. Arcade Fire – The Well and the Lighthouse
25. Au Revoir Simone – Sad Song

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— , December 25, 2007    4 Comments