|Third album "Shut Down The Streets"|
|Solo debut "The Slow Wonder"|
|New Pornographers' debut album "Mass Romantic"|
|Zumpano's debut album "Look What the Rookie Did"|
|Second album "Get Guilty"|
Carl Newman first gained a certain measure of cult indie-rock fame as the leader of Vancouver pop quartet Zumpano in the mid-1990s before becoming a bigger name as the primary lead singer and main songwriter of The New Pornographers, one of the most critically-acclaimed bands of the 2000s. As A.C. Newman, he began a lower-voltage, folk-influenced solo career with 2004's The Slow Wonder, which helped cement his reputation as one of the most talented and stylistically varied indie rockers of his generation.
Allan Carl Newman was born April 14, 1968 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The youngest of five children in a comfortable middle-class family, Newman grew up fascinated by the usual 1970s radio hits, but seeing the Martha Coolidge-directed cult romantic comedy "Valley Girl" (1983) at the age of 15 spurred a newfound interest in new wave music. After forming a jokey band in his teens called The Crusaders who performed ironic but affectionate indie rock versions of the Christian youth group songs of his childhood, Newman joined a Vancouver indie collective called Superconductor as their lead singer in the early 1990s. The band's shifting lineup (which could include up to six guitarists at a time) released three records during the first flush of the alternative music boom, but their peculiar blend of prog-rock complexity and aggressive experimental noise was too outré even for that era.
At the same time that Superconductor was a going concern, Newman formed a new band as an outlet for his own songwriting. Zumpano (somewhat obscurely named after the band's drummer, Jason Zumpano) signed to Sub Pop Records while the Seattle-based label was at its post-Nirvana height, but the band was even more out of step with the musical times than Superconductor, albeit in the opposite direction. Newman's songs with Zumpano were rooted in angelic AM radio pop of the late 1960s and early '70s, so much so that a cover of Jimmy Webb's relatively obscure pop-psych nugget "Rosecrans Boulevard" was a highlight of 1995's Look What The Rookie Did. Although both that album and Goin' Through Changes (1996) found a devoted cult audience, Zumpano did not sell many records, and they quietly split up after Sub Pop dropped them from the label.
Newman formed The New Pornographers (named for Shôhei Imamura's double-life comedy "The Pornographers" (1966)) almost immediately upon the breakup of Zumpano, but took three years to complete the band's first album, Mass Romantic (2000). Originally envisioned as a studio-only supergroup made up of Newman's friends from Vancouver's indie rock scene, they became a permanent band led by Newman with singer Neko Case and singer-songwriter Dan Bejar as his stage and studio foils. Following their second album, Electric Version (2003), the group went on a brief hiatus as the members attended to other projects. One was keyboardist Blaine Thurier's second film as screenwriter and director, "Male Fantasy" (2004), which included a solo song by Newman, "Drink To Me, Babe, Then." That song also appeared on Newman's first solo album, The Slow Wonder (2004). Previously, The New Pornographers had recorded an affectionate cover of the 1970s Canadian hit "Your Daddy Don't Know," by the hard-rock outfit Toronto, for the soundtrack of the mockumentary "FUBAR" (2002). That film's director, Michael Dowse, had previously directed several New Pornographers videos, including the inventive clip for their debut single "Letter From An Occupant." Newman later composed his first complete film score for Dowse's romantic comedy "The F Word" (2013), starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan.
Newman began alternating solo records with New Pornographers albums and tours, treating them as more personal, intimate affairs than the band's splashier albums like Twin Cinema (2005). However, even in the band, Newman's songwriting took a more personal turn; Challengers (2007) was seen in reviews as being largely informed by Newman's relationship with Christy Newman, then an executive with the New Pornographers' label Matador Records, and his move to New York to start a new life with her. The newly-married couple resettled to a farm near Woodstock, NY, where Newman recorded his third solo album, Shut Down The Streets (2013). An intensely personal album about the death of Newman's mother and the birth of his first child, it was recorded in the style of the 1970s soft rock that had been the young Carl Newman's first musical love.
|Chose to go by the initials A.C. Newman for his solo career because "it sounded like a pseudonym, but it's not a pseudonym. It's my name" http://www.prefixmag.com/features/ac-newman/interview/12382/|
|"I'm known for those types of frenetic songs where they're asymmetrically structured, but I'm very pleased with myself when I write a simple song." -- http://www.prefixmag.com/features/ac-newman/interview/25160/|
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