In the video for their new single, “War on the East Coast,” A.C. Newman and Dan Bejar of the New Pornographers stalk around a barren city overrun with rioting youths like a pair of undercover cops. I’d say they are playing a familiar role. In the ever-morphing indie rock scene, the Canadian supergroup has become a rare mainstay since 2000’s Mass Romantic. While eager kids chase what’s hip and new, the New Pornographers quietly stay relevant by releasing ebullient, consistently wonderful power-pop albums every two to five years, trends be damned.
“War on the East Coast” features Bejar (better known under the name of his act Destroyer) on lead vocals, his strange voice fitting snugly with the eerie synth trills and chugging guitar that propel the track. In a band that rotates lead vocals among Bejar, Newman’s sweet rock lisp, and Neko Case’s knockout belt, it says a lot to stand out. Live, Bejar is notoriously hermetic, sometimes only joining the group on stage to sing the songs he wrote. In the Thom-Glunt-directed video he event lets Newman lip-sync his vocals.
“War on the East Coast” is the second single off of the upcoming “Brill Bruisers,” to be released on August 25 on Matador Records. The New Pornographers will play the Skyline Music Festival on August 8 at Target Field, alongside Andrew Bird, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, S. Carey, and Dosh. Tickets are now on sale.
Nina Slesinger is a student at Macalester College.