The New Pornographers are a Canadian indie rock supergroup formed in 1997 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Their sound is highly influenced by such power pop bands as The Cars and Cheap Trick, although their songs are generally of a greater melodic and harmonic complexity.
Carl Newman, who writes most of the band's material, has said, "When I seriously started to try to write songs, my main influences were, like, Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb, and Brian Wilson. Those were the guys I kinda looked at their music and went, 'What the hell are they doing here?' I was just fascinated by the structures and the harmonics." The melody of the first and eponymous track on their second album Electric Version, for instance, begins with an arpeggiated diminished triad—a rare and strange opening flourish for a pop song.
The band's first three albums each ranked in the top 40 on The Village Voice's Pazz and Jop year-end poll of hundreds of music reviewers. From 2000 to 2006, either a New Pornographers' album or a solo album from one of the band's members ranked in the top 40 on the list each year. In 2007, Blender magazine ranked The New Pornographers' first album, Mass Romantic, the 24th best indie album of all time. It is the second-highest Canadian album on the list, behind Arcade Fire's Funeral (which came in sixth).
The name of the band was chosen by Newman. It is reminiscent of a quotation attributed to Jimmy Swaggart, who once called rock and roll "the new pornography," although Newman did not know of the quote at the time. Newman has stated that he came up with the name after watching a Japanese film called The Pornographers.
The band has released four albums to date: Mass Romantic (2000), Electric Version (2003), Twin Cinema (2005), and Challengers (2007). A live album recorded on their 2006 tour is available only at concerts and on the band's website.