The Awkward Stage

Not only does just about everyone in the New Pornographers have their own bands, it's getting to the point where the members of those offshoot bands have their own projects. Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Shane Nelken is not actually a member of the New Pornographers, but he played piano on leader A.C. Newman's solo record The Slow Wonder. He's also the bassist in Sparrow, the band led by Newman's former bandmate Jason Zumpano, and in Vancouver Nights, a Belle & Sebastian-like twee pop band that also includes Dan Bejar of the New Pornographers and Destroyer. He even played a key supporting role in the 2004 indie feature Male Fantasy, written and directed by the New Pornographers' keyboardist, Blaine Thurier. Extending his reach into parts of the Vancouver music scene not related to the New Pornographers, Nelken has also played guitar with rockabilly revivalist Ronnie Hayward, country punks the Tennessee Twin, and a number of other, lesser-known bands. All of this is on top of Nelken's day job as a cremationist for a Vancouver funeral home. The Awkward Stage is Nelken's first solo project; he's the only full-time bandmember, although the New Pornographers' Kurt Dahle plays drums on and co-produced the debut album Heaven Is for Easy Girls and various guests add strings and horns. ~ Stewart Mason

    Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

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