Friday, November 29, 2013

Review: Superchunk "I Hate Music"

How did it happen that I took this long to review I Hate Music, Superchunk's excellent most recent CD? Time to fix that.

As we reflect on those things in our lives we are thankful for this weekend, let's be sure to put Superchunk on that list. I've followed this band closely since their formation in 1989 when I lived in their hometown of Chapel Hill, NC. Mac McCaughan was the super knowledgable and friendly young clerk at Schoolkids Records on Franklin Street who recommended always great new music to this older music critic who frequented the store.

I Hate Music is Superchunk's 10th record, and it holds up to their well earned legacy. It picks up where their previous effort Majesty Shredding (2010) left off, but with a strong theme of loss and a questioning of what does it all mean.

One of my favorite tracks here name checks Jackie Mittoo, the long deceased keyboardist and founding member of seminal reggae legends The Skatalites.

They released a fine video for "Me & You and Jackie Mittoo", by well respected filmmaker and fellow Tar Heel Phil Morrison:

"I hate music-- what is it worth?/ Can’t bring anyone back to this earth/ Or fill in the space between all of the notes/ But I got nothing else so I guess here we go…"

Where Superchunk seems to land on I Hate Music with these big mid-life questions is, let's get back to those people and things we love. In Superchunk's case, what they love is smart, tightly crafted, high energy American punk / power pop, and their loyal fans. And so they made a great 10th record, and off they went on a major world tour. "Cram into the back of a van, oh yeah/All of our friends with a plan, oh yeah...Whatever it takes/ Put up your feet on the dash."

Though they had to tour without bassist Laura Ballance whose tinnitus prevents her for playing live (kids, and that means you Lily my 14 year old daughter-drummer, wear those ear plugs!).

Even while Superchunk question the meaning of things on I Hate Music, they release a video for the song "Void" with a big dose of self-depreciation and a terrific sense of humor about getting older.

The other "official" video is an odd film, for "Staying Home", another exhilarating short blast of Superchunk power pop:

I'll leave you with one more, maybe my favorite here, "FOH":

Mac McCaughan wants to know how we're doing - "How's everything at the front of house?" Well Mac, we're kind of like you, up and down, getting older, experiencing loss. But we're finding plenty to love in life, and are especially appreciating those things that have given a lot to us through the years, such as music, and more specifically, Superchunk music.

You'll see I Hate Music again here at WYMA blog in a few weeks, when I publish my annual best of the year list.

Official web page:
Superchunk Facebook page
Twitter: @Superchunk 

Upcoming tour dates:

Nov 29-Dec 1 Camber Sands, UK | All Tomorrow’s Parties ‘End of an Era Pt. 2′
Dec 2 Leeds, UK | Brudenell Social Club
Dec 3 London, UK | Electric Ballroom
Dec 5 Copenhagen, Denmark | Loppen
Dec 6 Stockholm, Sweden | Debaser
Dec 8 Helsinki, Finland | Tavastia
Jan 18 Chicago, IL | Metro / Tomorrow Never Knows Festival
Jan 19 Madison, WI | High Noon Saloon – FRZN Festival
Feb 5 Dallas TX | Trees
Feb 6 Austin TX | The Mohawk
Feb 7 Houston TX | Fitzgerald’s
Feb 8 New Orleans LA | One Eyed Jack’s

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