Superchunk gives us something to sing about with their new
lp: Indoor Living (Merge Records; September 2)|
“Hitching raw punk vigor to smart pop songwriting, Superchunk has cranked out some of rock’s most exhilarating nuggets...” -Chicago Tribune
Yes, friends, Mac, Laura, Jim and Jon have done it again. Hot on the heels of last fall’s ep, Laughter Guns comes Indoor Living, another ear-popping collection of tunes from one of America’s most beloved rock bands, Superchunk.
In the seven years that Superchunk has been performing and recording, both for Matador Records and their own home-grown, Chapel Hill-based label, Merge, they have epitomized the DIY ethics, not to mention the sound, of what is great about indie rock. No hype, no rock star attitude. Just a perfect melding of the music and ideas that defined a generation of artists weaned on the Buzzcocks, the Replacements, Sonic Youth and other seminal bands that became the forebearers of today’s rock scene.
“...there is no better band around than Superchunk.” -Alternative Press
Yet, while much has been made of Superchunk’s unwavering commitment to “indie rock” -- and to the contribution they’ve made in helping Chapel Hill become such a music mecca -- that’s not the real reason people love them. The truth is, people loave Superchunk beacuse they write great songs. It’s as simple as that.
Enclosed is Superchunk’s 8th full-length cd, Indoor Living, which was recorded at Echo Park in Bloomington, IN, and mixed at Overdub Lan in Durham, NC with Jon Plymale. And, in case you’re wondering, the gorgeous cover art is taken from an oil painting by Mac!
“It’s Superchunk’s triumph that it has stayed plainly within the confines of anthemic punk rock but has mined new ground with each new batch of songs, as if rediscovering its instruments and the power of the songs with each new record.” -CMJ
Superchunk will be in NYC July 21-23 shooting their new video with director Phil Morrison. Superchunk will be touring in the fall. Meanwhile enjoy the music...
Perseverance. The word has become synonymous with the band Superchunk. One scribe even joked there should be a photo of the band next to the word’s entry in Webster’s. Or at least some kind of sketch.
Superchunk was formed in 1989 in the town of Chapel Hill, NC by Mac McCaughan (guitar and vocals), Laura Ballance (bass), and two other friends. After a couple of singles on their own Merge imprint, the band inked a deal with a then-fledgling Matador Records.
In 1990, Connecticut-born James Wilbur joined the fold, recruited to take over guitar duties when the other guitariest left citing road fatigue. Wilbur was teaching health at the prestigious McWilloby Friends School when he was told of the vacancy by a student who spotted a mention about it in Conflict. He bid adieu to the world of academia and bon jour to the world or rock. Much touring and recording ensued.
No Pocky for Kitty was recorded in 1991 in Chicago by Steve Albini (Membranes, Head of David). A few weeks before the record came out, local window cleaner Jon Wurster was brought on board to mind the tubs. Europe beckoned and Superchunk acquiesced, breaking tour records along the way:
1) Quickest van break-in after pulling up to the venue: 7 minutes (Brussels).
The Superchunk Rock Vessel plowed forth from 1993 to 1996. The band put out one more record for Matador (On the Mouth) and then opted to release its own records through Merge. Foolish brought stylistic shifts and critical acclaim. A second singles compilation (the first was 1992’s Tossing Seeds) came out in the summer of ‘95. It was titled Incidental Music, and contained most of their harder-to-find numbers (imports, b-sides, comp. tracks). Boston was the setting for Superchunk’s next album session. 1995’s Here’s Where the Strings Come In was recorded at the city’s Fort Apache Studios and slated for release. The band played the kiddie stage on that summer’s Lollapalooza and toured hard for Strings all over the world, scoring a minor hit with the “Hyper Enough” single and video.
After a brief hiatus and another Australian tour the band released a limited edition EP called The Laughter Guns. The band started the writing process for what would become Indoor Living. As a way to shake things up, it was agreed the band would invest $122,000 in a vintage steam organ. If the songs sounded good when played on the organ they were judged album-worthy. This may well be a new trend in rock (Trent Reznor was recently seen checking one out). Recording commenced in Bloomington, Indiana’s Echo Park Studios with Chapel Hillian John Plymale co-producing with the band. Finally allotting themselves enough time to make a record (12 days), things went smoothly except for Jon’s arrest for loitering. Superchunk has stretched out a bit on Indoor Living and added some new sounds to the mix: piano, organ, vibes and more. The album is by far their most adventurous and at the same time their most accessible. The first single and video is “Watery Hands”. The band will tour the world starting in October ‘97.