Ep. #71: Alden Penner

Alden Penner is a respected and idiosyncratic singer, songwriter, and musician based in Montreal. Penner was a key figure in the influential bands the Unicorns and Clues and went on to make heartfelt, enigmatic, and questioning music in a project called Hidden Words. On Feb. 11, he quietly released a lovely new album under his own name; it’s called Exegesis and has prompted him to play at the Silver Dollar in Toronto for the Wavelength festival on Thursday Feb. 13, Montreal’s Le Cagibi on Friday Feb. 14, and the Le Pantoum in Quebec City on Feb. 15. Here, Alden and I discuss my issue understanding release dates, the fact that Exegesis is a personal compilation of sorts with at least one song that was partially conceived by Nick Thorburn when the two were in high school, the self-reflexive nature of putting this record together, Penner’s evolution as a songwriter and the distinction between his simpler and more intricate work, his earliest days learning how to play music in his teens and the impact “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” had on him and his guitar playing, jamming with his geography teacher, meeting and collaborating with Thorburn for the first time, the influence that Jimi Hendrix, Reverend Gary Davis, Elizabeth Cotten, and Fugazi had on his guitar playing, interesting guitar teachers and Syd Barrett, playing every instrument on a record yourself, the importance of band chemistry and the Avengers, the multiple meanings of the album’s title, which came to Penner in a dream, how religion has impacted Penner’s ability to find his own voice and feel bolstered by his community, the importance of self-assertion in the face of confrontation, Laura Crapo’s role in producing Penner’s new album, the mysteries of mysticism and psychic surgery, having faith, his upcoming shows, why the Unicorns must reunite to play shows and maybe even reissue Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? in 2014, the song “We Seek,” and more.

Related links: facebook.com/aldenpennermusic vishkhanna.com

alden penner

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10 thoughts on “Ep. #71: Alden Penner

  1. […] to founding member Alden Penner. As Exclaim points out, Penner recently appeared on the podcast Kreative Kontrol, where he revealed plans for a Unicorns reunion tour as well as a reissue of their lone […]

  2. […] Penner told the Kreative Kontrol podcast that the band recently acquired back the master rights to their 2003 full-length Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? and might reissue it. Penner said the band discussed the idea of remastering the album and “including some other recordings that never made it out.” […]

  3. […] Penner told the Kreative Kontrol podcast that the band recently acquired back the master rights to their 2003 full-length Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? and might reissue it. Penner said the band discussed the idea of remastering the album and “including some other recordings that never made it out.”  […]

  4. […] One of the most underrated bands of the past couple of decades, The Unicorns reportedly might “arrange a handful of shows” now that they’ve acquired the master rights back to their lo-fi classic, 2003′s Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? They’re considering reissuing it and “including some other recordings that never made it out,” as Alden Penner told the Kreative Kontrol podcast. […]

  5. […] Pitchfork points out, in a recent appearance on the Kreative Kontrol podcast, Penner says that the band has bought back the rights to Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re […]

  6. […] Alden Penner of early 2000s-era Canadian lo-fi pop trio The Unicorns was just interviewed on a Kreative Kontrol podcast, which Pitchfork […]

  7. […] went to high school in the 2000s, you’ll know exactly how much The Unicorns mean to me. In a Kreative Kontrol podcast that Pitchfork thankfully transcribed for us lazy people, Alden Penner […]

  8. […] ha infatti dichiarato, all’interno del Kreative Kontrol podcast, che il gruppo ha recentemente riacquisito i diritti dell’album Who Will Cut Our Hair When […]

  9. […] Hidden Words and a solo album called Exegesis) and Jamie Thompson (Islands) discussed with the Kreative Kontrol podcast how 2014 is “The Year of the Unicorn” and that a reunion is not a discarded […]

  10. […] gigs last fall. And though it’s not confirmed yet, reports are that Montreal’s The Unicorns will be reassembling to mark the 10th anniversary of Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re […]

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