As frontman of the New Pornographers, Zumpano, and Superconductor, A.C. Newman has been at the forefront of some the most lauded indie power pop bands of the past two decades. As a part-time solo artist for nearly a decade, Newman has been equally well-received, though noticeably different as a songwriter. Newman’s solo work has often been more melancholic than his playful party-pop efforts with the New Pornographers, starting with his 2004 solo debut record The Slow Wonder.
Released in October, Newman’s third solo album Shut Down the Streets found him more introspective than ever, subtly musing over his mother’s death, his child’s birth, and his life in between these events. Orchestral accompaniment and acoustic flourishes framed his reflections. The album’s title track refers to Newman’s response to her mother’s death, which held that her passing should have prompted a public display of mourning like celebrities often receive, one that literally shut down the streets for her.
Hear Newman discuss and perform songs from Shut Down the Streets on this edition of World Cafe.