Category: Superchunk

Superchunk – On the Mouth

ARTIST: Superchunk                                          Superchunk_onthemouth

TITLE: On the Mouth

YEAR RELEASED: 1993

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Mower, The Question Is How Fast, Precision Auto

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Don’t think so

LINEUP: Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance, Jim Wilbur, Jon Wurster

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Superchunk’s third album solidifies and diversifies their sound and becomes college radio favorites.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Cracking out of the gate with “Precision Auto”, an MTV 120 Minutes staple, Superchunk’s third album has a lot of attitude and spirit that made them beloved around the country. But it wasn’t all loud and fast.

They changed up at times, with brooding cuts like “Swallow That” and “Mower”, and the varied, pop-in-its-way “The Question Is How Fast” and “I Guess I Remembered It Wrong”. That’s a positive step, since they were running low of variations in the loud and fast category. Some of the faster tracks seem like they’re repeating previous ideas

New drummer Jon Wurster gave them a more versatile drummer that helped them when they changed from pure punk adrenaline. It’s a shame that not every song is as consistently good as in their previous record but the highlights are among their best.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The ‘title track’ was a B-side on the “Mower” single.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No\

GRADE: A-: The best songs, I love. I do think it runs out of gas when it comes to the punkier songs.

Superchunk – Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)

ARTIST: Superchunk           Superchunk_tossing

TITLE: Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: The A-sides: What Do I, Slack Motherfucker, Fishing, The Breadman, Seed Toss

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: My Noise, Cool

LINEUP: Mac McCaughan, Laura Balance. Jim Wilbur and Jack McCook are on guitar. Chuck Garrison plays most of the drums until the final single, where it’s Jon Wurster.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Singles compilation catches fans up on Superchunk, and is an essential snapshot of the early band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While their second album is essential in its own right (and only has one track here, not counting a different version of “Cast Iron”), this collection is a better representative of early Superchunk than their first album.

Here, the band shows love for its influences (the Shangri-Las, Sebadoh, and obscure punk) and the 7” medium (start the song, make your statement, get out).  Tracks like “Slack Motherfucker”, “Fishing”, and “Cool” are anthems for that generation (which was my generation, to be honest, so this does resonate with me) and were great bursts for college radio and other places hip singles could be played.

As with any collection like this, not every B-side or track given to a comp is the best, but this is not just for completists. It’s worthwhile for any Superchunk or rock fan, really.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: One track from their Freed Seed single didn’t make this compilation (their version of Sebadoh’s “I Believe in Fate”)

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: I’d grab this over their first album for sure.

Superchunk – No Pocky for Kitty

ARTIST: Superchunk                      superchunk_nopocky

TITLE:  No Pocky for Kitty

YEAR RELEASED: 1991

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Tower, Seed Toss, Cast Iron (B-side)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Skip Steps 1 & 3

LINEUP: Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance, Jim Wilbur, Chuck Garrison

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: North Carolina punk-indie bands solidifies their reputation and releases one of the best non-grunge punk records of the early 90’s.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While Seattle got all of the hype, Chapel Hill had its own music scene and Superchunk (though they were loath to admit it) were the defacto leaders of it.

They were just as noisy and inspired as the groups across the country, but had a totally different vibe. Superchunk were wired tight, focused on the guitar melody in all of the racket, and letting the band contribute to the overall sound as one unit (so it seemed). Even with all of the noise and distortion, there was a definite sense of melody in the songs and riffs.

The first three tracks basically sandblast your face off with the volume and power, and then you notice the subtleties. The rest of the album follows on to a lesser extent, but there’s not a point where you want to skip a track once you get rolling into the heart of the album.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: It took three days to record with Steve Albini.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: The first few tracks are so strong the rest of the record does pale a bit by comparison, but it’s still a big leap above their first album in terms of consistency.

Superchunk – Superchunk

ARTIST: Superchunk 220px-Superchunk_superchunk
TITLE: Superchunk
YEAR RELEASED: 1990
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Slack Motherfucker
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: My Noise and Sick to Move if you were into alt-rock
LINEUP: Mac McCaughan, Laura Balance, Chuck Garrison, Jack McCook.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Uneven yet powerful debut by the Chapel Hill band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Superchunk debut is messy and clattery. The record was done in two days and it’s not the clearest sounding production in the world for many songs. A lot of the songs had the same feel and vibe.

But the ones that stick to you – “My Noise”, “Sick to Move”, and of course the 1989 Single of the Year “Slack Motherfucker” shine like a diamond.

SM may have been the first song to counter the impression that the Gen-X or Y 20-somethings were not at all happy if people were slacking (even though they made a whole dang movie about that concept). I mean I’m working, but I’m not working for you – NO!

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Single of the Year? Yep, in the Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll of 1989.Oh, and original drummer Chuck Garrison is how they named the band Superchunk (ithe Chapel Hill phone book had him as Chunk Garrison)

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. The B-sides are in a collection.

GRADE: B: Yet another uneven debut gets a B even though some of the songs are my all-time favorites.