Over the past 20 years, THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS have proven themselves one of the most excellent bands in indie rock. The group’s ninth album and first for Merge establishes them alongside modern luminaries like Yo La Tengo and Superchunk when it comes to their ability to evolve while still retaining what made them so special in the first place. A dazzling and intriguing collection of songs, Continue as a Guest finds bandleader A.C. NEWMAN and his compatriots NEKO CASE, KATHRYN CALDER, JOHN COLLINS, TODD FANCEY and JOE SEIDERS exploring fresh territory and shattering the barriers of their collective comfort zone. Newman began work on Continue as a Guest after the band had finished touring behind 2019’s In the Morse Code of Brake Lights. Themes of isolation and collapse bleed into this album, as Newman tackles the ambivalence of day-to-day life during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Newman says that Continue as a Guest’s title track also addresses the concerns that come with being in a band for so long. “The idea of continuing as a guest felt apropos to the times,” he explains. “Feeling out of place in culture, in society, being in a band that has been around for so long—not feeling like a part of any zeitgeist, but happy to be separate and living your simple life, your long fade-out. Living in a secluded place in an isolated time, it felt like a positive form of acceptance: find your own little nowhere, find some space to fall apart, continue as a guest. Features contributions from DAN BEJAR (DESTROYER) and SAIDE DUPUIS (SPEEDY ORTIZ, SAD13).