Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Apr 7th 2010 3:30PM by Steve McLean
The indie rock veterans -- who formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1989 and released their self-titled debut album a year later -- have issued seven studio albums, as well as compilations, EPs, live records and singles, but haven't put out a full Superchunk LP since 2001.
That should change later this year when the quartet is expected to release a new and still-untitled album through Merge Records, a label formed by singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance 21 years ago.
"Since we're still working on it, I feel like I haven't been able to really listen to the whole thing all at once yet," McCaughan tells Spinner. "But I'd say that it's definitely more straightforward than the last record, [2001's] 'Here's To Shutting Up,' and more along the lines of [2009's] 'Leaves In The Gutter' EP."
McCaughan and guitarist Jim Wilbur will perform an acoustic set at The Royal in Toronto on April 7 after a screening of 'Passenger Side,' a film on which he was a music consultant. It's the only performance they're doing in conjunction with the entertaining Matthew Bissonnette-written and directed movie, which was part of last year's Toronto International Film Festival, since Superchunk is deep in the overdubbing and mixing phase of the new album.
Superchunk has performed sporadically over the past several years, including last month's SXSW music festival during which the group opened the Merge showcase at the Cedar Street Courtyard in peak form. Superchunk will play the Primavera Festival in Barcelona, Spain from May 27 to 29 and the Westword Festival in Denver, Col. on June 19. More dates are expected following the album's release, but not many.
"I don't think we'll ever do another three-month tour or anything like that, but we certainly still enjoy playing live," says McCaughan.
Superchunk's buzz saw guitars, McCaughan's passionate vocals and their enthusiastic rhythm section made them one of the premier bands of the '90s burgeoning indie rock movement -- both their music and their do-it-yourself work ethic have served as an inspiration to younger bands who have followed in their wake. McCaughan, however, is modest when he's asked about Superchunk's influence.
"To me, we were never really a particularly original band," he says. "We try to write good songs and stuff like that, but when we started out people said that we sounded like Hüsker Du or Dinosaur Jr. or the Buzzcocks.
"It's funny for me to think about us influencing other bands. It's flattering, but I don't really know the extent of it."
Superchunk also helped put Chapel Hill's music scene on people's radar, alongside the likes of Southern Culture on the Skids, Ben Folds Five, Archers of Loaf, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Polvo. While the region doesn't get the attention it did back in the '90s, McCaughan says that doesn't mean that things aren't still happening.
"There are more bands now than when we were starting. There are a ton of bands, and some of the same clubs are still here and there are new ones on top of that. So I think the scene is really good. I'm older and have kids and can't go out every night like I did at one point, but there's a ton of good bands."