I probably would have been a hell of a lot more interested in that New Pornographers record that just came out if someone had bothered to tell me that it was the brainchild of Carl Newman. “Who is this Carl Newman?” you might be asking. Carl Newman was the singer of a Vancouver based Sub Pop band named Zumpano who put out quite the gem of an album called ‘Look What the Rookie Did.’ If you don’t own it, consider your life incomplete.

     At any rate – Carl Newman is the male vocalist on this new recording and Neko Case handles the female vocals. It sounds a lot like Zumpano would have sounded in the transition between “Look What the Rookie Did” and “Goin’ Through Changes” (their second album), but if Neko Case were singing. I’ve only heard one song off of it (It’s on this month’s CMJ sampler. So is the Steve Malkmus song that was inspired by ‘Cabin Boy.’ So is a really good song by the band Spoon. They changed the way they package those free CD’s) but that one song was enough to convince me to buy it on sight.

     …and speaking of Zumpano – I distinctly remember reading an article last summer in one of those free Windsor weeklies that detailed how they were on hiatus until one of their songs got used in a movie trailer. Apparently the liscensing royalties for use of a song in a trailer are significantly greater than those paid for use in the movie proper. Based on their good fortune, members of the band said that a Third full-length would be forthcoming. This New Pornographers project doesn’t exactly bode well for my hopes of a third Zumpano album.

Some Zumpano Links:

  • An old interview with Michael Ledwidge, and a live review from the same source.
  • And hey, look, you can download the videos from their first album, courtesy of Sub Pop.
  • Wouldya look at that? MTV.com actually ran a version of the “third album” story in October of last year.
  • Hot damn! there was a japanese version of the second album that also had their two 7″ B-sides and two other songs I’ve never heard before. If you have this, please contact me. I just want those two songs.
  • Finally: I just found out that the New Pornographers will be at the Magic Stick on Friday the 16th, and I will be there.

     The Afghan Whigs officially broke up recently after 14 years of making good music. This doesn’t surprise me at all, because I’ve been on an absolutely wicked Afghan Whigs kick of late, and whenever that happens, the band invariably decides to break up. I’m glad I had the chance to see the live though, albeit only once. Looks like now we’re going to have to settle for “That sissy John Spencer,” because that Twilight Singers album was pretty piss poor. Here‘s a pretty good MP3 of a song that will never get the studio treatment from Mr. Dulli and Co.

     Loyal viewers of MTV’s Undressed should note that hometown boys Red Shirt Brigade were heard in the background of last night’s episode. Not surprisingly, MTV used an instrumental clip from “Strychnine Police / Death Arcade” to score a segue between two ‘relatively attractive people fighting and / or being overly dramatic’ scenes. Also featured in the episode were At the Drive-in’s “One Armed Scissor,” and that really bad song by Crazy Town. A video clip should appear soon on the Suburban Sprawl Music site which will be redesigned before you know it. The episode will be rerun in the wee hours of Sunday Night / Monday morning. And to think, if I didn’t watch the show religiously, they wouldn’t even know.