AC Newman, Mynabirds | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

AC Newman, Mynabirds Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Tue., Oct. 30, 9:30 p.m. 2012

Carl Newman has always kept his life out of the songs he writes, both for the New Pornographers and his solo project, A.C. Newman. But after getting married, having a kid, and suffering the death of his mother, he opted to crack the door a bit on his superb new album, Shut Down the Streets (Matador). His lyrics are as oblique as ever—it's not like he's naming names—but it's obvious that he's talking about his mother on the album's title track, where he declares that her passing should've been an occasion for ceremonial mourning: "President and kings should have been there / With not a single empty seat." On the gorgeous waltz "You Could Get Lost Out Here," he reveals that starting a family hasn't rid him of insecurity or fear: "Your roots in this ground are provisional / Invisible, you'll find, to the naked eye." But Newman also has faith—there's a whiff of optimism in the ethereal folk-pop of "There's Money in New Wave," and the opening track, "I'm Not Talking," carries the hope of future stability ("I don't mean to weight things down with fortune telling / Let's just see, when it all comes true, we'll see"). The driving "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns"—one of several tunes featuring New Pornos bandmate Neko Case—sounds a lot like his main band, but most of the richly textured songs on Shut Down the Streets seem extrapolated from 70s folk rock, with a panoply of reed instruments and keyboards cradling his pretty melodies. On this tour, Newman performs with a sextet that includes some of the players from the album. —Peter Margasak Mynabirds open.

Price: $15

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