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Shut Down The Streets

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The phrase "dad rock" is our young century's go-to rock-critic insult, a cheap pejorative redolent of organic vegetables, sensible minivans, corny puns, tasteful guitar interplay, Steely Dan over-worship, and so forth -- the sound of settling.

Which is ludicrous, of course, and a disservice to dads everywhere. Because fatherhood is hardcore. The hours are gnarlier, the ... Read more in Amazon's A.C. Newman Store

Visit Amazon's A.C. Newman Store
for 3 albums, 4 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Shut Down The Streets + The Slow Wonder + Get Guilty [VINYL]
Price For All Three: £31.40

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Product details

  • Audio CD (16 Feb. 2015)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fire Records
  • ASIN: B009A7BV2U
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,720 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. I'm Not Talking 4:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Do Your Own Time 4:33£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. You Could Get Lost Out Here 4:04£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns 3:59£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. There's Money in New Wave 3:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Strings 4:37£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Hostages 4:09£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Wasted English 3:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. The Troubadour 3:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. They Should Have Shut Down the Streets 3:51£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

LP coloured vinyl. Fire Records are delighted to be releasing the new album from A.C. Newman in Europe on 22 October. 'Shut Down The Streets (LP/CD/digital) is the most powerful and personal solo work to date from the New Pornographers founder. While Carl Newman long ago staked a claim for being one of North America s finest pop craftsmen, Streets represents a change in tone and a bigger change in subject matter. A year of joy and sorrow in the Newman household has inspired an album of understated elegance and strength. Fantastic lyrical chops and musical invention aren t new territory for Carl, but writing so directly about the most important events in his adult life the death of his mother and the birth of his first child certainly are. Recorded in Woodstock, NY and featuring longtime colleague Neko Case, Streets bears the influence of classic 70s folk and pop songwriters ranging from Gerry Rafferty to Daylight Katy -period Gordon Lightfoot. Summoning lush sonics with sweeping string & synth backgrounds that are miles away from his main band, The New Pornographers signature sound, Shut Down The Streets is brutally honest, open and affecting in a way Newman has rarely been in the past. Carl Newman founded The New Pornographers in Vancouver, Canada, bringing together an octet of ridiculously talented musicians including Dan Bejar (Destroyer), Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Kurt Dahle, Blaine Thurier and Todd Fancey. Having formed in 1997, they almost immediately recorded the classic song "Letter From An Occupant and went on to release five wondrous albums (their 2000 debut 'Mass Romantic', 2003's 'Electric Version', Twin Cinema in 2005, 2007 s Challengers and 2010 s Together ). They received wild critical and public acclaim and they continue to enjoy bigger and bigger audiences around the world. Carl made his solo debut as A.C. Newman in 2004 with 'The Slow Wonder', which he followed up with Get Guilty in 2009. The album is bookmarked by starkly contrasting songs, starting with the blissful I m Not Talking and ending with the title track, gorgeous and devastating in equal measure, which concerns the recent death of Newman's mother, revealing one of the saddest, most direct and heartbreaking song he's ever written. But coping with death is only part of the message here; most of the rest of the songs celebrate new life, in the form of the birth of his son, Stellan, and the bucolic life Newman is carving out for his family in Woodstock, New York what he calls "my private new world." The shuffling gait and plinking keyboards of "You Could Get Lost Out Here" make clear that he is lost out there, and a little nervous for it, but also not a little exhilarated. The true heart of Shut Down the Streets might be "Strings" and "Hostages," both exquisite and infectious, both expressly about Stellan, the latter described by Newman as "a straight-up joyous song," the former based on this premise: "We wanted to have a baby so much that I made a promise to the world that I would never complain again if this wish was granted to us. Now that we've been given this, I constantly have to remind myself not to be full of it and live by the promise that I made." With Shut Down the Streets , Carl Newman demonstrates his considerable songwriting skills, with gorgeously constructed pop songs imbued with wit and intelligence. With exquisite, sugary melodies and expertly melded boy-girl harmonies provided courtesy of Neko Case, the album showcases Newman as one of the most important and gifted songwriters of the new millennium.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD
A.C. Newman is better known as Carl Newman, the ringleader of the New Pornographers. Despite that band's ever growing popularity, Newman has found (has made) the time to release solo albums as well. After 2004's The Slow Wonder and 2009's Get Guilty, this is the third solo album from Newman.

"Shut Down the Streets" (10 tracks; 40 min.) starts off with a gorgeous "I'm Not Talking" and reminds me of Lindsey Buckingham circa 1979 (Tusk), and with lyrics like "Until there is a reason to think I have a shot at redemption/Until then I'm not talking". The lush instrumentation is present throughout most of the album, check out "You Could Get Lost Out Here". "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns" is a faster song again reminding me of Buckingham. Neko Case provides great backing vocals on this song as well as many other tracks of the album. Several other highlights for me include the sparse "Strings" which kicks off the second half of the album, and the last two songs on here, "The Troubadour" and "They Should Have Shut Down the Streets", what a beautiful way to close the album out.

In all, this is for me the best of A.C. Newman's solo albums to date, and that is saying something. At 40 min., this album breezes by in no time and you'll be hitting the "Play" button again and again. I've had the good fortune of seeing the New Pornographers in concert, but haven't seen Newman yet as a solo act. Hope I'll have a chance to see him live in support of this beautiful album. "Shut Down the Streets" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Thanks Carl. Beautiful. Keep writing (Updated 5/25/13) 10 Oct. 2012
By L. Carriere - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Update: I had no idea how much I would come to love this album. Shut Down the Streets has emerged as one of my favorite albums ever, let alone my favorite A.C. Newman solo. There is a quality at work in this collection that engenders genuine affection for the songs and the artist. Newman, the singer-songwriter, is an amazingly sympathetic and prepossessing artist with this affecting performance and material. Masterpiece. (And I was remiss not to mention the blessed vocal contributions of Neko Case.)
Not since Lennon/McCartney have I so enjoyed music. Not just this album, but Newman's other two solo and five *TNP albums. Unpredictable chord changes and deja vu melody lines. Lyrics inscrutable, poetic, funny, fun, and heartbreaking, sometimes all at once. Song arrangements and instrumentation loaded with nuance and innovation make each listen a fresh experience.

Shut Down the Streets (album), is taking a little longer to register with me, but steadily gaining ground. Every song shows promise, and I expect repeated listening will uncover new favorites. Encyclopedia of Classic Take Downs, however, is instant gratification with its irresistible-sing-along-hook "I didn't mean to live that many lies", (reminiscent of "Parade of sisters through New York" from TNP, The New Face of Zero and One).

Instrumental figures can be as addictive as lyrical hooks, and a perfect illustration are the horn lines in the intro of I'm Not Talking, and repeating between verses. Very 70's.

And it's easy to imagine John Lennon singing There's Money in New Wave. A song to smile by.

Frankly, this may not be the best album to meet A.C. Newman. Personal and introspective, it is probably more "interesting" to Newman/TNP initiates. But still it's a no-brainer 5 star. I'm Not Talking or Encyclopedia or the title cut alone earns the album that. If you're not familiar with A.C. Newman and/or TNP, start out with either of the other two solo albums, and a random TNP album - You can hardly go wrong and will want them all eventually. This one too.

The term power-pop does disservice to Newman's music. Newman himself said something to the effect that power-folk might be more accurate. Newman's music is powerful in so many ways, but the creative scope and depth of his songwriting output, often leaping from genre to genre, defies that kind of pigeon-holing. What were the Beatles? That's the category this guy and his band of musicians is in.

One last comment. That album cover. You would expect a collection of favorite hymns, circa 1970 production.

*The New P o r n o g r a p h e r s
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Best yet! 11 Oct. 2012
By Deckard Trinity - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ok... now that the dust has settled, and I've had a chance to really give this album a few listens, let me quickly say that this is my personal fav out of AC's three solo albums. I think the opening track, I'm Not Talking, is just completely mesmerizing. I find myself listening to (and trying to write) a lot of more abstract and simple, electronic infused music, and really think he nailed the opening 30 seconds on this track. It's not just bleeps and bloops, but more alive. And then the guitar kicks in, and I'm completely drawn in. Followed by AC's lead, and ... oh yes!... Neko Case on backing harmony. What can I say, I'm a bit smitten!

The rest of the album doesn't _quite_ live up to the beauty of the opener, but that's just because it's such a strong song. Overall, this is an album you can chill to, dance to, perhaps even do "other" things to... just a great, uplifting vibe all around. 5+ stars!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic song writer 9 Oct. 2012
By S.G. - Published on
I've been listening to the album streaming from another site for the past week and I love it. It's more laid-back than his work with the New Pornographers, but has the same beautifully crafted melodies and building song structure. Another reviewer put it well, The New Pornographer albums are usually summer time songs that you sing with the windows down as you drive. This album is better released in the fall the tone is more subdued, but feels deeper.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A.C. Newman's evolution 7 Dec. 2012
By John Stodder - Published on
Format: Audio CD
"Shut Down the Streets" is magnificent and heartening. I became a fan of A.C. Newman's music with the New Pornographers' "Twin Cinema," and his first solo album, "The Slow Wonder," which, in retrospect represented the peak of his more youthful, audacious phase. Ever since, I think it's fair to say that Newman has been struggling, pushing himself and at times reaching beyond his grasp, not wanting to stay forever defined as a power-pop confectioner, but not clear on what should come next. The results have been iffy. "Challengers," the moody follow-up to "Twin Cinema," is a pretty great album even as it demonstrated Newman's first forays into trying to reinvent himself; but what followed, the NP's "Together" and Newman's solo "Get Guilty," had a forced quality, as if he was saying to himself "there's got to be more to life than clever melodies and inscrutable lyrics... but what?" The cellos that dominated arrangements on those two albums created emblematic sounds to represent what seemed to be going on -- Newman sawing.

But the struggle was worth it. "Shut Down the Streets" is a great album, every bit as musically compelling as "Twin Cinema" but even more listenable, with the sense of cleverness replaced by humbler reverence for the beauty of the melodies he has been able to concoct. He lets these songs breathe, sometimes taking on a "less is more" approach with the arrangements -- like in the gorgeous, hushed "You Could Get Lost Out Here" -- and sometimes building a Wall of Sound to frame subjects that Newman clearly cares about -- as in the track from which the album title is derived, "They Should Have Shut Down the Streets," an unusually (for him) plain-spoken tribute to his late mother. For that song, he creates an amazing percussion arrangement of interlocking tambourines, brushed cymbals, kick-drum, adding up to a kind of procession, for a plainly-articulated, emotionally vivid song and recording that could have fit perfectly on "Pet Sounds."

This album will captivate you right away with the opening track, "I'm Not Talking," a wash of electronic sounds that resolves into a kind of spacey folk tribute to family life, underpinned with a melodic motif that sounds like a duet between trumpet, flute and slide guitar, and will be the first ear-worm on an album full of them. The bridge on this song is other-worldly. For this solo album, Newman gets great support from his NP bandmate, Neko Case, who plays the role of background singer here, curtailing her vocal power to fit into some gorgeous harmony arrangements. Case and NP fans will probably have the most fun with "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns," in which she is allowed to cut loose a bit more on the chorus, a brief echo of some great moments off "Twin Cinema" like "The Bleeding Heart Show," but ultimately the power in this song and throughout the album comes from Newman holding back, letting his songwriting do the work.

My suspicion about Newman has always been that while he is a world-class songwriter when it comes to melodies, harmonies and arrangements, that he wasn't sure what he wanted to say lyrically. He could come up with some compelling images, to be sure, and his lyrics were obviously very singable, but sometimes he seemed to choose words for their sound rather than meaning. What's so unexpected and gratifying on this album is that as his lyric writing came down to earth, as the point of his lyrics came into clearer view, his *music* got even better. On this album, Newman is in much greater command of his considerable gifts, and it makes for one of the most satisfying pop albums of many years.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Perfect Album 31 Aug. 2013
By Lee Zachariah - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I was resigned to the idea that AC Newman's 3rd album wouldn't be an improvement on his first two, because I simply didn't believe that The Slow Wonder and Get Guilty could possibly be improved upon. So the fact Shut Down The Streets is his best album is no small statement.

It is not just a collection of perfect songs, but songs that flow perfectly from one to the next. There is a big difference between an album featuring x number of great songs and a great album, and Shut Down The Streets is both. From the opening chords of the instant classic I'm Not Talking, Newman hits every height there is to hit. Some moments of bluntness may feel jarring on first listen, but it's up to the listener to catch up. Every repeat listen reveals a new layer, and the further you go, the more this masterpiece becomes clear.

A truly great album.
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