The New Pornographers and Rogue Wave bring in the New Year. - Oh My Rockness

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The New Pornographers and Rogue Wave bring in the New Year.

December 8, 2005
The start of 2006 seems forever from now. But if you don't get your tickets to this show now, you'll ring in the New Year with disappointment. Start the year off in style!

The New Pornographers are an insanely catchy and cohesive band (which partly explains why they are signed to Matador... they don't release garbage). They are Vancouver, Canada's feel-good group that rocks power POP complete with four-part harmonies and an abundance of high-spirited confidence.

An indie rock supergroup of sorts that features a revolving cast of characters (band members at one time or another include Zumpano's Carl (A.C.) Newman, Thee Evaporators' John Collins, Destroyer's Dan Bejar, cartoonist/filmmaker Blaine Thurier, drummer Fisher Rose, guitarist Tom Fancey, drummer Kurt Dahle, and Neko Case... and in their case, the sum is MUCH greater than its parts), The New Pornographers create a sound that's a little bit Beach Boys, a hint of The Shins, some Spoon, and a whole load of good feelings. It is Carl (A.C.) Newman who really describes their sound best. He has said The New Pornographers are "new wave bubblegum glam indie rock." Boom, for real.

The New Pornographers know that handclaps and "la-la-las" are like martinis. One is not enough, and three is too many. Their well-textured songs fall somewhere in the middle, which is exactly where you, the listener, want to be (especially if you find yourself driving to Canada).

Also playing is Rogue Wave, a band whose breezy, sun-drenched melodies are more calming than a Corona commercial could ever be. They're just what we need to get through this long winter that has yet to even begin.

Rogue Wave's latest album, Descended Like Vultures, completely blows their debut, Out of the Shadows, out of the water. Not that their first offering wasn't good -- it was. But this band has definitely stepped it up a notch, delivering new songs that can only now be compared in the same breath to the work of their friends and label mates, The Shins. Much of this marked improvement stems from singer Zach Rogue opting not to record the album (mostly) solo, instead combining the talents of all four touring members to make their first true "band" album. Even Michael Jordan needed a supporting cast before he started winning all those championships. And while Rogue Wave aren't the Michael Jordan of music just yet, they certainly just moved from Sixth Man to Starting Shooting Guard in a hurry.

If you like your pop to come free of the gooey cheese (which on the surface appears to be enticing, but ultimately ends up just making you feel gross), then Rogue Wave is your kind of group. These are songs meant to soar, with optimistic harmonies harkening back to those gentler nights and days. But their songs do not aim for the obvious -- they make sure to throw in the odd refrain here and the random rhythm there to make your listen an accessible but interesting one. The few times I have seen this band live, they had a very assured aura surrounding them. This confidence allowed the crowd to stand back, relax, and take comfort that Rogue Wave were fully in control, transporting us to a place where the sun does, in fact, shine.

The New Pornographers and Rogue Wave play Metro, Saturday, December 31st.


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