Superchunk will release What a Time to Be Alive, on February 16th, 2018, the band’s first album in over four years. “The album is…Read More
Superchunk is an American indie rock band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, consisting of singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan, guitarist Jim Wilbur, bassist Laura Ballance, and drummer Jon Wurster. Formed in 1989, they were one of the bands that helped define the Chapel Hill music scene of the 1990s. Their energetic, high-velocity style and do-it-yourself ethics were influenced by punk rock.
Perhaps no band was more emblematic of the true spirit of American indie rock during the 1990s than Superchunk, the pride of Chapel Hill, NC. Following the D.I.Y. ethic to the letter, the group operated solely by their own rules, ignoring all passing trends by sticking to their trademark sound — typified by the buzzing guitars and high, impassioned vocals of frontman Mac McCaughan — and rejecting all major-label advances in favor of the unlimited freedom afforded by owning their own company, the highly successful Merge Records. Although Superchunk’s resistance to the overtures of the music industry may have deprived them of the wider audience their work deserved, perhaps their greatest legacy remains their unwavering dedication to the indie tradition, a model which other up-and-coming bands often strive to emulate.
Superchunk was formed in the college town of Chapel Hill in 1989 by singer/guitarist McCaughan, bassist Laura Ballance, drummer Chuck Garrison, and guitarist Jack McCook. Initially dubbed merely Chunk — the “Super” prefix was later added to avoid confusion with a similarly named New York City avant-jazz band — the group issued its debut single, What Do I, on the Merge label, which was jointly run by McCaughan and Ballance. The follow-up was 1990s epochal Slack Motherfucker, MacCaughan’s blistering tirade against a lazy Kinko’s co-worker. The single was immediately hailed on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the definitive indie anthems of the era, and with the subsequent release of their self-titled debut LP, Superchunk was widely celebrated among the most promising young bands in America.
No Pocky for Kitty
As the success of acts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam made Seattle the early-’90s music scene du jour, label heads scrambled to locate the next alternative rock hotbed. Chapel Hill became the consensus choice, and Superchunk was tapped as the Next Big Thing. The quartet — which had subsequently exchanged McCook for guitarist Jim Wilbur — soon found themselves in the middle of a major-label bidding war, but they defiantly stuck to their guns, remaining on Merge for their brilliant 1991 sophomore effort No Pocky for Kitty, recorded by Steve Albini and distributed by Matador. A singles collection, Tossing Seeds, followed in 1992, and a year later Superchunk — now with new drummer Jon Wurster — returned with the superb On the Mouth, highlighted by the singles “Mower” and “The Question Is How Fast.”
I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle
In addition to Superchunk’s relentless tour itinerary and prolific recording schedule, McCaughan released the 1994 LP I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle, the first full-length release from his side project Portastatic. Even as media attention shifted elsewhere, Superchunk forged ahead, following the release of 1994’s Foolish with Incidental Music, a second compilation of singles, B-sides, compilation tracks, and other assorted offerings. 1995’s Here’s Where the Strings Come In heralded a subtle refinement of their core sound, and was supported by a tour on the second stage at that summer’s Lollapalooza festival; the first single and video, the surging “Hyper Enough,” was even a minor hit. A brief hiatus preceded the release of the 1996 EP The Laughter Guns, the full-length Indoor Living appeared the next year, and Superchunk returned again in 1999 with Come Pick Me Up.
Come Pick Me Up
Ten years on, Superchunk remained as prolific as ever with their eighth full length release, Come Pick Me Up, which arrived in 2001. A third collection of singles, the double-disc Cup of Sand, followed in 2003, compiling the band’s singles and assorted rare tracks from 1995 to 2002. Superchunk contributed songs to various compilations over the following years, including a humorous duet with Meatwad, the meatball-shaped character from Comedy Central’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which ultimately appeared on the show’s soundtrack. They also released material on their own, including the 2009 EP Leaves in the Gutter. The band’s ninth album, Majesty Shredding, arrived the following September.
Superchunk will reissue their self-titled album August 25th, via Merge, on vinyl for the first time since its initial release, The remastered LP features…Read More
Today, Superchunk has released the the 7-inch single, which features new song “I Got Cut” on the A-side and a cover of Tom Robinson…Read More
This Record Store Day, Superchunk will release Cup of Sand, their 2003 singles and rarities compilation on vinyl for this first time. The original…Read More
Superchunk have announced they will reissue their 1999 album Come Pick Me Up on CD, LP, and digital download, via Merge records on July…Read More
“Wet Leaves” is found near the back of Mac McCaughan’s Non-Believers, out May 4th worldwide. The video was directed by Trudy Benson who also created…Read More
Mac McCaughan’s limited-edition hand-numbered “Box Batteries” b/w “Whatever Light” 7-inch will be available in independent record stores and at Mac’s shows beginning April 7….Read More
On May 5, Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan will release Non-Believers, his first solo record under his own name. Prior to that, a limited-edition, hand-numbered 7-inch of “Box Batteries” b/w…Read More
Mac McCaughan keeps the Superchunk tradition of Halloween cover songs alive with his cover of “First and Last and Always” by 80’s goth favorites…Read More
Merge Records invites you to North Carolina to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary at Merge 25, a 4-day music festival that now includes Teenage Fanclub, Mount Moriah, William Tyler,Read More
On February 25, Merge records will release the remastered reissue of Superchunk’s out-of-print 1997 album Indoor Living. The second in their 2014 series of reissues in celebration of their 25th anniversary,Read More
On February 25, Merge Records will release the newly remastered reissue of Superchunk’s out-of-print 1997 album Indoor Living. The second in their 2014 series of reissues in celebration wit their 25th anniversary, Indoor Living will be released on CD and LP with new liner notes by Laura Ballance and producer/engineer John Plymale,Read More