Hey Kamotch here, and as promised in January, I return with another 6-pack as part of my ongoing series of releases. Pretend it’s still February. I only missed my mark by a day, and only because of a login error preventing me from posting! But anyway, this month we have Superchunk! Sort of a weird coincidence as their longtime drummer of over 30 years, Jon Wurster, announced his departure from the band earlier this month (February, wink wink). A real shame, as he is one of the reasons this pack is one of my favorites I’ve done so far. But we’ll get into that in a bit.
For those unaware, Superchunk was sort of one of the pioneers of indie rock in the early 90’s. Two founding members of the band also founded Merge Records, which has published its fair share of indie rock album juggernauts like Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane over the Sea and Arcade Fire’s Funeral. As for the band itself, their sound was clearly inspired by punk rock, so if you’ve been paying any attention to my genre preferences you’d know they’re pretty much a perfect fit for me. Like most bands I’ve released large packs for, there was definitely a time I considered them my favorite band. Honestly, I could do several more 6-packs for them and not have to really dig for great material. But I believe I’ve chosen a good starting point with these six.
If you were looking to get into the band without personal guidance, you would have had to do what I did when I first attempted to get into this band. Go to Wikipedia and other websites/streaming services to find their most popular songs and start from there. Well this is the song that kind of started it all for Superchunk. Released as a single off their self-titled first album, it definitely put them on the map at the time. I’ll admit this isn’t exactly a favorite of mine, but it’s definitely one I’d consider essential. Funnily enough, aside from this song, this is possibly my most family-friendly pack I’ve released.
Another method of getting into a band is to listen to one of their albums in its entirety. At the time I looked up some of their more popular albums, No Pocky for Kitty was one that seemed to come up a lot. Funnily enough I don’t hear it as much in that conversation anymore, even of just their 90s albums. But I’m actually glad this was my first full album experience for Superchunk. It’s definitely got a punkier tone than some of their later material, but despite that, this song always stood out as really pretty to me. It’s stood the test of time for me, and I’m happy to finally share this one.
The first song in the pack with the aforementioned Jon Wurster taking up drum duty. Despite this, I wouldn’t say this is one of his better songs to drum to. I mentioned No Pocky for Kitty was punky, but this song in particular starts off the next album, On the Mouth, on a very similar wavelength. It’s a toss up between this and “Slack Motherfucker” as to what’s the heaviest song in this pack. But it’s nice to have a mix of the heavier and lighter tones.
Speaking of lighter tones, this is possibly the most poppy song in the pack. By the mid-90’s the band had started to shy away from the heavy punky stuff in favor of a more melodic sound. On Indoor Living, lead singer Mac McCaughan would break out his falsetto more and they replaced crowd chants with actual harmonies. Synthesizers were employed. The band had started to move more and more into the mainstream. The music video for this song actually included well-known alt-comedians David Cross and Janeane Garofalo and is definitely worth checking out. Oh it’s also quite a standout on drums.
Misfits and Mistakes
So at the time this song came out, Superchunk had been on a 5-year hiatus from producing new music. And for what reason did they come off that hiatus? Well to make music for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters soundtrack, of course. It was a hidden track featuring vocals from Meatwad. Superchunk released their version as a single, and 2 years later it was included on their Leaves in the Gutter EP. Yet another drum showcase and another that makes use of synths. I plan to someday come back and chart the keys portions of this and Watery Hands, but music transcription technology either needs to advance or I need to learn more about music theory before that happens.
Digging for Something
In 2010, Superchunk finally released their first new full length album since 2001, Majesty Shredding. Press surrounding the album led them to be asked to perform a song cover for online publication The A.V Club’s Undercover series of videos. From the list of song choices, they decided on The Cure’s “In Between Days”. I enjoyed it enough at the time that I decided to look into Superchunk’s discography. And now we’ve come full-circle! Perhaps their most solid album in their discography in my opinion. Is it my favorite? I’m not sure, but it is very consistently good. And Digging for Something does a really good job of setting the tone at track 1. It’s definitely one of their best songs.
In addition to these 6 tracks, I’ve also previously released Hyper Enough from their album Here’s Where the Strings Come In. I recommend picking that one up as well. I haven’t gone back and looked at the project file in a while, so I don’t know how well it holds up compared to my more recent releases, but I know it’s still fun to play on drums at least! A lot of these songs are honestly some of my favorites to play in the game now.
But that about wraps it up for this one. I don’t think I will have enough time for a 6-pack next/this month (March) as I’ve been roped into yet another large-scale collaboration (willingly of course). But I’ll try to get something out before that gets released because it could end up being a few months off. Timeline is still up in the air, but I’ll be charting regardless. I’ll see you guys soon and hope these tracks hold you over until next time!
Sweet, thanks for the customs! I know half of these, and look forward to listening to the others I don’t.