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Superchunk

Perhaps no band was more emblematic of the true spirit of American indie rock during the 1990s than Superchunk, the pride of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Following the D.I.Y. ethic to the letter, the bandmembers 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 that other up-and-coming bands often strive to emulate.

Superchunk were 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 1990's epochal Slack Motherf**ker, 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 were widely celebrated among the most promising young bands in America.

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 were tapped as the Next Big Thing. The quartet -- which had subsequently exchanged McCook for guitarist Jim Wilbur -- soon found itself in the middle of a major-label bidding war, but the bandmembers 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."

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. Released in 1995, 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.

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. They showed no signs of slowing down and released I Hate Music in the summer of 2013, following it up with a monthlong U.S. tour. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: I Hate Music

1. Overflows

2. Me & You & Jackie Mittoo

3. Void

4. Staying Home

5. Low F

6. Trees Of Barcelona

7. Breaking Down

8. Out Of The Sun

9. Your Theme

10. FOH

11. What Can We Do

x

Track List: Majesty Shredding

1. Digging For Something

2. My Gap Feels Weird

3. Rosemarie

4. Crossed Wires

5. Slow Drip

6. Fractures In Plaster

7. Learned To Surf

8. Winter Games

9. Rope Light

10. Hot Tubes

11. Everything At Once

x

Track List: Leaves In The Gutter Ep

1. Learned To Surf

2. Misfits & Mistakes

3. Screw It Up

4. Knock, Knock, Knock

5. Learned To Surf (Acoustic Demo)

x

Track List: Cup Of Sand

Disc 1

1. The Majestic

2. Reg

3. Her Royal Fisticuffs

4. The Mine Has Been Returned To Its Original Owner

5. A Small Definition

6. Dance Lessons

7. Basement Life

8. Still Feed Myself

9. Fader Rules

10. Never Too Young To Smoke

11. Detroit Has A Skyline (Acoustic)

12. Does Your Hometown Care?

Disc 2

1. Beat My Guest

2. With Bells On

3. Clover

4. Sexy Ankles

5. White Noise

6. Thin Air

7. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

8. 1000 Pounds (Duck Kee Style)

9. The Length Of Las Ramblas

10. Becoming A Speck

11. The Hot Break

12. A Collection Of Accounts

13. Blending In

x

Track List: Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama)

1. Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama)

2. The Hot Break

3. A Collection Of Accounts

4. Art Class (Acoustic)

x

Track List: Here's To Shutting Up

1. Late Century Dream

2. Rainy Steets

3. Phone Sex

4. Florida's On Fire

5. Out On The Wing

6. The Animal Has Left Its Shell

7. Act Surprised

8. Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama)

9. What Do You Look Forward To?

10. Drool Collection

x

Track List: Late-Century Dream

1. Late-Century Dream

2. The Length Of Las Ramblas

3. Becoming A Speck

4. Florida's On Fire (Acoustic Demo)

x

Track List: 1,000 Pounds

1. 1,000 Pounds

2. White Noise

3. Scary Monsters

4. 1,000 Pounds (Acoustic)

x

Track List: Come Pick Me Up

1. So Convinced

2. Hello Hawk

3. Cursed Mirror

4. 1000 Pounds

5. Good Dreams

6. Low Branches

7. Pink Clouds

8. Smarter Hearts

9. Honey Bee

10. June Showers

11. Pulled Muscle

12. Tiny Bombs

13. You Can Always Count On Me (In The Worst Way)

x

Track List: Come Pick Me Up (Remastered)

1. So Convinced

2. Hello Hawk

3. Cursed Mirror

4. 1000 Pounds

5. Good Dreams

6. Low Branches

7. Pink Clouds

8. Smarter Hearts

9. Honey Bee

10. June Showers

11. Pulled Muscle

12. Tiny Bombs

13. You Can Always Count On Me (In The Worst Way)

x

Track List: Hello Hawk

1. Hello Hawk

2. Sexy Ankles

3. Low Branches (Acoustic)

4. Pink Clouds (Acoustic)

5. Cursed Mirror (Acoustic)

x

Track List: Indoor Living

1. Unbelievable Things

2. Burn Last Sunday

3. Marquee

4. Watery Hands

5. Nu Bruises

6. Every Single Instinct

7. Song For Marion Brown

8. The Popular Music

9. Under Our Feet

10. European Medicine

11. Martinis On The Roof

x

Track List: Indoor Living (Remastered)

1. Unbelievable Things

2. Burn Last Sunday

3. Marquee

4. Watery Hands

5. Nu Bruises

6. Every Single Instinct

7. Song For Marion Brown

8. The Popular Music

9. Under Our Feet

10. European Medicine

11. Martinis On The Roof

x

Track List: Watery Hands

1. Watery Hands

2. With Bells On

3. Watery Hands (Wet Wurlitzer Mix)

x

Track List: Here's Where The Strings Come In

1. Hyper Enough

2. Silver Leaf And Snowy Tears

3. Yeah, It's Beautiful Here Too

4. Iron On

5. Sunshine State

6. Detroit Has A Skyline

7. Eastern Terminal

8. Animated Airplanes Over Germany

9. Green Flowers, Blue Fish

10. Here's Where The Strings Come In

11. Certain Stars

x

Track List: Incidental Music 1991-95

1. Shallow End

2. Mower

3. On The Mouth

4. Cadmium

5. Who Needs Light

6. Ribbon

7. Foolish

8. 100,000 Fireflies

9. Invitation

10. Makeout Bench

11. Baxter

12. Connecticut

13. Lying In State

14. Throwing Things (Acoustic)

15. I'll Be Your Sister

16. Night Of Chill Blue

17. Forged It

18. Home At Dawn

19. Precision Auto

x

Track List: Foolish

1. Like A Fool

2. The First Part

3. Water Wings

4. Driveway To Driveway

5. Saving My Ticket

6. Kicked In

7. Why Do You Have To Put A Date On Everything

8. Without Blinking

9. Keeping Track

10. Revelations

11. Stretched Out

12. In A Stage Whisper

x

Track List: The First Part

1. The First Part

2. Connecticut

3. Foolish

x

Track List: Mower

1. Mower

2. On The Mouth

3. Fishing (Live)

x

Track List: On The Mouth (Remastered)

1. Precision Auto

2. From The Curve

3. For Tension

4. Mower

5. Package Thief

6. Swallow That

7. I Guess I Remembered It Wrong

8. New Low

9. Untied

10. The Question Is How Fast

11. Trash Heap

12. Flawless

13. The Only Piece That You Get

x

Track List: On The Mouth

1. Precision Auto

2. From The Curve

3. For Tension

4. Mower

5. Package Thief

6. Swallow That

7. I Guess I Remembered It Wrong

8. New Low

9. Untied

10. The Question Is How Fast

11. Trash Heap

12. Flawless

13. The Only Piece That You Get

x

Track List: Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)

1. What Do I

2. My Noise

3. Train From Kansas City

4. Slack Motherf**ker

5. Night Creatures

6. Garlic

7. Fishing

8. Cool

9. The Breadman

10. Cast Iron

11. Seed Toss

12. It's So Hard To Fall In Love

13. Brand New Love

x

Track List: The Question is How Fast

1. The Question is How Fast

2. Forged It

3. 100,000 Fireflies

x

Track List: No Pocky For Kitty

1. Skip Steps 1 & 3

2. Seed Toss

3. Cast Iron

4. Tower

5. Punch Me Harder

6. Sprung A Leak

7. 30 Xtra

8. Tie A Rope To The Back Of The Bus

9. Press

10. Sidewalk

11. Creek

12. Throwing Things

x

Track List: Superchunk

1. Sick To Move

2. My Noise

3. Let It Go

4. Swinging

5. Slow

6. Slack Motherf**ker

7. Binding

8. Down The Hall

9. Half A Life

10. Not Tomorrow

x

Track List: Driveway To Driveway

1. Driveway To Driveway

2. Seed Toss (Acoustic)

3. Sick To Move (Acoustic)

4. Driveway To Driveway (Acoustic)

x

Track List: FOH (Single)

1. FOH

x

Track List: Hyper Enough (Single)

1. Hyper Enough

2. Never Too Young To Smoke

x

Track List: Me & You & Jackie Mittoo (Single)

1. Me & You & Jackie Mittoo

x

Track List: The Laughter Guns

1. A Small Definition

2. Her Royal Fisticuffs

3. The Mine Has Been Returned To Its Original Owner

4. Hero

x

Track List: This Summer / Cruel Summer (Single)

1. This Summer (Live)

2. Cruel Summer (Live)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
There was a great interview with Mac on Marc Maron's WTF podcast. They spent an hour together, so you really got to hear his story. Look for it on your favorite pod cast program.
Report as inappropriate
hyrnsyboy
The chills si!
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Love them all but my love affair with Superchunk began with No Pocky For Kitty!!! And I've never looked back!!!
Report as inappropriate
SLACK MOTHERF****R is an awesome song!
Report as inappropriate
Nicko, Here's Where the Strings Come In and their newest album I Hate Music are the best in my opinion.
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Who likes this s**t eww s**t looks like a** and sounds like s**t
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ARE THESE GUYS THE PIXIES II?
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Well. It's happened again. SOMEONE'S s h i t my pants!
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Am i the only one who noticed that it says meatwad was on comedy central? Also love superchunk but what the hell does it have to do with CRASS? Confused by pandora yet again. Yesterday it played pavement on Dozer radio.
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I think that Pandora misspelled Cardinal Bass by adding the leading B.......
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Awesome music
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ballofgoofne s s
This band just isn't doing it for me. No disrespect to the fans.
Report as inappropriate
decal_12
@cerpin47
That post wasn't nearly as annoying as his next post. He seems like one of those guys who just likes to hear himself talk.
Only a little exposure to Superchunk, but I just wanted to say that Majesty Shredding is really good. Just solid songwriting, played with energy and enthusiasm - It's not all I'll ever need to listen to, but why much it up with anything extraneous?
Report as inappropriate
@ Cardinal Bass:
You're a fool! Why would a band that came before the band in question, owe anything to that band?! The Space-time continuum strictly prohibits that. Use your mind, son!! They were clearly saying that Superchunk influenced a lot of bands that came after them. ZERO room for your argument here.
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NC
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You know I saw them live. They were kinda meh compared to all the other acts I saw around them. Of course they were all old so...I think they might not have been on their A-Game.
Report as inappropriate
Living in NC during th 90's was pretty frigging cool, now that i look back on it. wouldn't even know where to start the list of bands that just rocked a$$ back then. what the hell happened to music?!?!?!?
Report as inappropriate
Love the duet with meatwad. "One, two, AND three". Cracks me up every time.
Report as inappropriate
On my first exposure to them, I gotta say I'm pleased. They remind of that unfinished, rough sound I miss so much from back in the day. Toad the Wet Sprocket had it, Jane's Addiction had it, Hell, I even loved the way Ugly Kid Joe used it. I miss this kinda stuff.
Report as inappropriate
where is superchunk when we need them but boy they did beat kurt in making more records than he did.poor taste ? cant have everything.s u p e r c h u n k got to make a hundred albums and live and kurt made 2 or 3 and got immortality- b u t didn't get to see bean grw up.superchun k makes me morose...
Report as inappropriate
Jangle on!
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Someone's biting the hook at both ends..
Report as inappropriate
WIMP ROCK! GIVE IT UP!
Report as inappropriate
drennan.s
Sunshine State playing right now....such a great song
Report as inappropriate
mythicobelis k
go skateboardin g .
Report as inappropriate
mothlit
music is all about a feeling, maybe you feel different 20 years later. Great music
Report as inappropriate
I remember seeing this band at theMasquerad e in Atl , sometime around 93 , an , unless i was too high too remember correctly , I think they opened for TADD! Seriously! Man i miss those crazy billings. Does anyone remember when Helmet,Bodyc o u n t , M i n i s t r y and Rollins Band were on tour together? Maybe i WAS too hi in the 90's , but that s**t rocked!
Report as inappropriate
In defense of Helldiva...t i m e can make music seem more tame and saccharine. There was a time when Led Zeppelin was cutting edge now they are used to sell things in TV commercials. In the early 90s Superchunk was cutting edge. Maybe it's nostalgia or maybe they stand the test of time, but I still crank it up when I hear Superchunk. I can't say that about Led Zeppelin. The part about boys not getting laid, may be true...I wouldn't doubt it though. Check out Hyper Enough by Superchunk.
Report as inappropriate
helldiva.... y o u must have slept through the early 90s. its ok not to like something but to decry it as uninventive while never experiencing it yourself is myopic.
Report as inappropriate
Music by BOYS who couldn't get laid and were beat up constantly throughout school. There is nothing inventive in this crap whatsoever.
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matheny0138
great
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Luvs them long time
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I get chills whenever i listen to Superchunk. Portastatic is great too.
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Superchunk is great. More chunk please.
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bromide01
Why are they even still around?
Report as inappropriate
Precision Auto rules
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seriously. its been 5 years where the hell is the new album
Report as inappropriate
warehouselov e 7 5
That's hilarious tpmarczak. I think this thread got confused with John Tesh's. Ahhhhhh, it's not a Baby Ruth in the punchbowl son. This is part of being a viable, long-lasting floater....
Report as inappropriate
joelhorton
New e.p. in April!
Its about time.
Wish I was going to Coachella.
Report as inappropriate
joelhorton
On Mergerecords . c o m they have a new Chunk live album that you can stream and download. Its from '93...good stuff.
Report as inappropriate
tpmarczak
Cardinal Bass, do you find yourself floating in a punch bowl at the Superchunk party?
Report as inappropriate
Being a prolific artist doesn't make the music great. Bands that do this, fall prey to a "sameness" problem, where concurrent albums sound similar. Often, it's better to shelve an album for a year, & re-visit it prior to release. This way, you may have different thoughts on it's structure, sound or production. You also allow for the use of new instruments, production techniques, production staff, studio, & in some bands, different members. This is part of being a viable, long-lasting band.
Report as inappropriate
joelhorton
I use to like Superchunk when they actually released albums.
How long has it been now?
going on 8 years
there have been bands that have broken up and re-united in that amount of time.
Lets go chunk!!! get back in the studio.
Report as inappropriate
melanieoliff
Dang... these dudes got like 17 flippin' albums!!
Report as inappropriate
No Thank you. Guess you had to be there.....
Report as inappropriate
rhcp_andrew
pretty sure he didn't mean it that way. lol.
Report as inappropriate
stefanboone - How does a band, such as Metallica, or The Beatles, owe Superchunk "big time"? I'm very interested to understand your meaning.
Report as inappropriate
these guys are the epitome of a great american DIY band. their whole collection of music during the 90's was the soundtrack to my life during that period (pavement,to o ) . on the road,going to school, hanging with friends...th a n k s superchunk.
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awesome. i love indie music with my heart. <3
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One of my all time favoites, even better live!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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