January 15, 2009


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A.C. Newman, Get Guilty
Matador Records, Jan. 20

If you’re in the habit of price-shopping the “indie” records that the big magazines tell you to buy (not that they actually listen to records, if you’ll recall last year’s Rolling Stone catastrophe with Black Crowes, giggle), you may have stumbled upon glockenspiel-and-falsetto posers New Pornographers, a B-52s-ified Arcade Fire from Vancouver. A ray of regular-Joe hope had to spread from the seemingly bottomless accountant-rock scene at some point, and so Pornographers frontguy A.C. Newman has put out an album avowing a hippy-dippy Donovan Leitch side made more palatable by his fetish for Beatles-type material. On the whole this fits unobtrusively into the past/present Matador Records catalog, somewhere between Spoon (there’s a lot of retrofit Kinks power here, “Miracle Drug” being one addictive example), Lavender Diamond (for its hint of country) and Silkworm (when it starts drowning in needless forced angst, viz. “Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer”). “Submarines of Stockholm” is just a great song, bringing together the best parts of all the influences cited above. B —E.W.S.