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Superchunk

Biography by Jason Anken.

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 r ...read more

Biography by Jason Anken.

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 clearly deserved, perhaps their greatest legacy remains their unwavering dedication to the indie tradition, a model which all up-and-coming bands should 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's debut single, What Do I, was soon issued on Merge, a label jointly run by McCaughan and Ballance. The follow-up was 1990's 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.

As the success of acts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam made their hometown of 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..

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. Ten years on, Superchunk remained as prolific as ever with thier eighth full length, Come Pick Me Up, arriving in 2001. Their third collection of singles, a two CD set titled Cup of Sand, followed in 2003. « hide

Similar Bands: Archers of Loaf, Erectus Monotone , Seam, Portastatic

I Hate Music
08/20/2013

3.7
27 Votes
Majesty Shredding
2010

3.6
51 Votes
Here's To Shutting Up
2001

3.3
10 Votes
Come Pick Me Up
1999

3.5
12 Votes
Indoor Living
1997

3.5
9 Votes
Here's Where The Strings Come In
1995

3.7
25 Votes
Foolish
1994

4.1
35 Votes
On the Mouth
1993

4.1
20 Votes
No Pocky For Kitty
1991

3.8
42 Votes
Superchunk
1990

3.8
16 Votes

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