SUPERCHUNK was formed in 1989 in the town of Chapel Hill, NC by Mac McCaughan (guitar and vocals), Laura Ballance (bass), Chuck Garrison (drums), and Jack McCook (guitar). After a couple of singles on their own Merge imprint, the band inked a deal with a fledgling Matador Records.
McCook was the first to depart the group. He called it quits after the release of the first album, Superchunk, citing road fatigue and his burgeoning career as a softball umpire as reasons for leaving the fold. Connecticut-born James Wilbur was recruited to take over guitar duties. Much touring and recording ensued.
No Pocky for Kitty was recorded in 1991 in Chicago by Steve Albini. Chuck left the band a few weeks before the records release. Local window cleaner Jon Wurster was brought on board to mind the tubs. The current line up was set. [Jim Wilbur – guitar and backing vocals; Jon Wurster – drums, backing vocals; Laura Ballance – bass, backing vocals; Mac McCaughan – guitar, vocals}.
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 1992s 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 Superchunks next album session. 1995s Heres Where the Strings Come In was recorded at the citys Fort Apache Studios and slated for a fall release. The band 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 then started the writing process for what would become Indoor Living. Recording commenced in Bloomington, Indianas Echo Park Studios with Chapel Hillian John Plymale co-producing with the band. Superchunk stretched out a bit on Indoor Living, expanding their sound by adding some new instruments to the mix: piano, organ vibes and more. The album was by far their most adventurous and at the same time their most accessible to date.
To place their own indelieniable mark on the end of a decade, nay, the end of a century, Superchunk delivered Come Pick Me Up, their 7th full length studio release for Chapel Hills favorite sons [and daughter]. It also served as part of the 10th anniversary for the band and their label, Merge Records.
Jim, John, Mac and Laura traveled to Chicago this time around for a recording session at Electrical Audio Studios with legendary abstract pop pioneer Jim ORourke. Set on continuing the musical journey that began on Indoor Living, Superchunk have continued the expansion and growth of their sound that started with Foolish, pushing themselves to new heights of creativity. ORourke was a perfect choice; incorporating strings and horns on some tracks and lending the expertise and studio savvy to help Superchunk create their most mature and enduring record to date. Theyve come a long way since those “Slack Motherfucker” days of working at the Kinkos on Franklin St in Chapel Hill.
For their most recent full-length, the band traveled to Atlanta, GA’s Zero Return Studios to record the basic tracks, bringing producer Brian Paulson with them. The finishing touches were added at Paulson’s own Uwharrie Ridge Studios in Chatham County NC, just down the road from Chapel Hill. On Here’s To Shutting Up Paulson enjoys the distinction of being the first producer to work with Superchunk twice (the first time being 1994’s Foolish LP), and this familiarity helped lend to a comfort zone that allowed the band to stretch out their musical sensibilities, creating a gorgeous tapestry of sound that is as refreshing as it is astounding.
Here’s To Shutting Up documents their ongoing maturation as both songwriters and musicians. Songs such as Late-Century Dream, Phone Sex and Drool Collection shimmer with intricate melodies and some of the most diverse instrumentation and stylistic innovations yet heard in the Superchunk canon. But the boys and a girl can still rock out with the best of them on tracks such as Rainy Streets and Art Class.
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