Canadian indie rock collective The New Pornographers has revealed its first new album in more than two years. Whiteout Conditions is due out April 7 through Concord Music Group, and it’s preceded by the song “High Ticket Attractions,” which finds the band’s trademark male-female vocals backed by ‘80s-style synths. The band is supporting the album with a tour, kicking off April 18 at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Singer Neko Case, whose concurrent solo career occasionally precludes her involvement from live New Pornographers sets, will join the tour, but the band will be without singer-guitarist Dan Bejar, who confirmed the news via Twitter.
Whiteout Conditions is the follow-up to 2014’s Brill Bruisers, an album that made the short list for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize. “On this record, there was a conscious … effort for artificiality,” singer-guitarist Carl Newman told Consequence of Sound prior to that album’s release. “Like, sometimes we would use a string sound and think it was cool that it was fake sounding. And, we used iPhone apps on it and iPad apps on it. And, I think over the last year, I threw around semi-facetiously that we were influenced by Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and I think there is actually that element in it.” Whiteout Conditions hopes to build on the success of Brill Bruisers, which secured the band’s highest charting position, reaching No. 13 on the Billboard 200.
The touring lineup of New Pornographers includes Newman, Case, vocalist Kathryn Calder, guitarist Todd Fancey, bassist John Collins, keyboardist Blaine Thurier and drummer Joe Seiders. Seiders served as the band’s drummer on the Brill Bruisers tour after the sudden departure of Kurt Dahle, who had worked with the band since 1999. Calder, too, is back in a full-time capacity, having served as a fill-in for Case since 2005. (She was made a permanent member the following year.)
To call a band without a gold and platinum record to its credit a “supergroup” might be pushing it, but its members have been mightily prolific. Newman, who records as A.C. Newman, has three solo albums to his credit, most recently 2012’s Shut Down the Streets. Case toured with k.d. lang and Laura Veirs last year as case/lang/veirs. Collins has played with Bejar’s Destroyer and the Canadian group The Evaporators. Thurier’s side hustle as a filmmaker has included a number of New Pornographers music videos and feature films like 2014’s “Teen Lust.” Seiders also plays with Los Angeles-based Beat Club, who released the single “New Age Kid” last year.