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This article was published 9/6/2010 (3984 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Eight isn't enough for Carl Newman.
Even the full contingent of New Pornographers couldn't satisfy his need for a bigger sound, so he enlisted a friend who plays cello in the Broadway musical Next to Normal to join the band on the road.
"I was listening to the album and realized we need a cello on this tour, so I contacted the band and said, 'I realize you all want your space and don't want any more instruments up on stage, but we can't do this tour without a cello,'" Newman says.
The band is touring North America with its entire lineup, a rarity since other group members have their own careers to deal with -- most notably roots diva Neko Case and Destroyer's Dan Bejar -- but everyone will be in attendance when the New Pornographers play the Garrick Centre tonight with the Mountain Goats (tickets are $29.50 at Ticketmaster) in support of its new album, Together.
As usual, Newman composed his share of songs on an acoustic guitar then built upon the skeletal framework, adding instruments like the kaossilator (a mini synthesizer), vibraphone, banjos and "whatnot" to the mix alongside a veritable choir of voices to create another densely layered 12 tracks of exuberant power pop.
"It can be tricky," he says. "In the end I want it to sound more like a band than a group of people singing. The thing is, some vocalists are just more noticeable than others. Neko's voice, because so many people notice it, it jumps out and people don't notice the other two people singing.
"Some songs come quicker than others. Your Hands Together came quickly. It was a song not about subtlety, as it was a big rock song. It was about getting a good rock performance. Other songs, like Moves, is a rock song too, yet there was so much more strange craft going into it."
Newman has been putting his craft to work with the group since 2000, when they hooked up for the planned one-off album Mass Romantic. The record was so well received the Vancouver-based group became a full-fledged band and the priority for most of its members.
Ten years later, the group has five albums to its name, and Newman has recorded two solo albums, for a grand total of seven albums in a decade.
"I don't think it's that I'm prolific; it's more that I'm just driven to keep doing more. I always have a vague idea of what I want to do next," he says. "Right now what I want to do next seems kind of cockamamie. I can't say what it is. It's all in my brain right now. It's like a fantasy football league."
Newman, 41, lives with his wife in Woodstock, N.Y., these days and has become obsessed with listening to and collecting vinyl. Thanks to eBay, his collection is growing rapidly -- he's even buying albums he used to own that he traded in when CDs took over the market.
All the New Pornographers album have been released on vinyl, but they aren't collectible because so many have been pressed and are readily available.
"Part of me wants to make a 200-copy pressing of a seven inch (record) and make it instantly collectible. I like the idea of having it be a built-in collector's item with two really good songs not available anywhere else," he says.
"I'm tired of watching all our albums selling for seven dollars on eBay because there's too many of them."