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Indie band the Weakerthans going stronger than ever

John K. Sampson of the Weakerthans. (Jason Halstead)

John K. Sampson of the Weakerthans. (Jason Halstead) Credit: John K. Sampson of the Weakerthans. (Jason Halstead)

For the lead singer of the Weakerthans, the band's upcoming four-night concert series is a signal to start working on something new - and John K. Samson already has plenty of ideas.

The first is a solo record, "Provincial," to be released in January. It contains the material from his two prior EPs as well as new songs. That same month, Samson will publish "Lyrics and Poems: 1997 - 2012," a collection of the work he's done since the Weakerthans first began.

After that, Samson plans to get busy on the band's fifth record, which will be the Weakerthans' first studio album since 2007. During the upcoming four-night concert series, the band will play each of its former releases in its entirety.

amNewYork caught up with Samson, 38:

Why did you choose New York and San Francisco for four-night concerts? Both cities we adore, and both cities are very unlike the rather small, isolated city that we come from.

What do you think when you look back at all four albums? It's fun to revisit all the songs and see how they've changed - more, probably, how we've changed; the songs haven't changed that much at all. But they mean different things, and I like them less and more, and it's interesting what emerges out of that.

Did the band consciously become more experimental with each record? I think it's just kind of a natural progression of people playing together for 15 years. ... I think it's indicative of our interests and pace and skills. I think we've all become better at what we do.

What direction will the new Weakerthans record take? I'm not sure yet. We're just at the point that we've lifted the corner up on it now, and we have a handful of things that we play that don't have any set lyrics yet, so it's kind of an open blank page, which is exciting. That's always my favorite part, actually - when it's all potential.

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