With stateside touring winding down for the New Pornographers' latest effort, "Challengers," principal member Carl Newman tells Billboard.com he's already looking ahead.

With stateside touring winding down for the New Pornographers' latest effort, "Challengers," principal member Carl Newman tells Billboard.com he's already looking ahead.

"I think the next Pornographers record will be fairly rock," says Newman. "I think with 'Challengers,' we moved as far in this direction as we can go, unless we turn into M. Ward or something. The songs I find myself writing these days are a little bit more rock, but that's as far as I can say."

Newman, who says he hopes to have demos ready for band consumption by the end of the year for a possible 2009 street date, is also writing material for a solo album, which in a perfect world would be released this fall. As far as what differentiates a solo song from a New Pornographers' song, that answer isn't clear-cut.

"That's the confusing part," Newman says. "In a lot of ways they're similar, but in a lot of obvious ways, they're not similar. The Pornographers have all of these different people in the band and different voices, which makes a big difference. On my own records, I'm kind of left to my own devices. That can be both good and bad."

The New Pornographers, which are scheduled to perform today (April 14) and tomorrow in Washington D.C., have a Pacific Rim tour booked for Australia and Japan later this year. Newman says the band's current set, which includes a cover of the Electric Light Orchestra's "Don't Bring Me Down," is a career retrospective, while showcasing "Challengers" material in a new light.

"I think the songs have a little bit more rock power live, across the board," Newman says. "A song like 'Challengers,' which has pretty much no drums on the record, is a little louder. And that's the kind of stuff that happens when you play them live and they have a little bit more weight to them, I guess."

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