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The New Pornographers' greatest weakness may also be its greatest strength

The New Pornographers perform songs from their new album, Whiteout Conditions, and discuss politics and how this band came to be Carl Newman's career.
The New Pornographers frontman Carl Newman performing live in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

Contrary to other bands, the New Pornographers don't tour nine months out of the year. In fact, most of the band's core members don't even live in the same city anymore. This, as leader Carl Newman points out, may be both their greatest strength and weakness. 

"Some might argue that that's held us back because we're not the band that's going to tour for two years," Newman says. But, when the time does come to tour, he describes it as "hanging out with friends that I don't see that much."

Members' scattered geography is also a reason why one of the band's integral players, Dan Bejar (who fronts his own band, Destroyer), is not present this time around for the band's new album, Whiteout Conditions (out today). But Newman notes that there's always been a distance between him and Bejar, in that the two have written New Pornographers songs separately. 

"Ultimately, I've said to people, it's very possible that, if Dan had been on this record, it would be this record plus three more songs," he jokes. "So if you take three songs from the next Destroyer record and mix them into this album, you might have the alternate-reality version of Whiteout Conditions."

— Produced by Mitch Pollock

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