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!