Jeff Moody

Never Mind The Arcade Fire, Here’s Superchunk!

By - Sep 15th, 2010 10:58 am

If you follow the Rock (and Roll) Nooz then you already know that The Suburbs is a big hit with lots and lots of people who like music, and I think that’s great. The Arcade Fire are Canadians, and who doesn’t love Canadians?

Canadians are polite to a fault. You spill a cherry Slurpee on their new white sneakers and they’ll apologize to you for getting in yer way. They have Tim Horton’s instead of Starbuck’s, and Tim Horton is a real guy who played hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs! Now he’s also a national coffee and donut franchise! And the donuts are really great! That little nugget of info is awesome cool. I dunno if The Arcade Fire are awesome cool like every other Canadian I’ve met, but I just assume they are.

I haven’t heard The Suburbs, but I’d bet it’s just swell. It must be, because everyone is buying it, despite the fact that it’s on little ol’ Merge Records in Durham, NC. You know about Merge, right? The label that Laura Ballance & Mac McCaughan started a generation ago, right about the same time they started Superchunk? You heard of Superchunk, right? You know Superchunk isn’t a peanut butter brand or a meatball sandwich, right? Good. So…


Maybe so, maybe no. Whatever. Lemme tell you about it. Its name is Majesty Shredding and it is pure, joyous rock and roll energy from start to finish. Never mind the bullshit you may have read about how all the indie bands from the nineties are back in vogue and blah blah blah because rock and roll this good transcends time, era, scene, trend, etc. Superchunk has never sounded better than this.

North of Durham, NC a ways is a band named The Wrens, for whom my affection knows no bounds. There are many things I love about The Wrens, but at the top of the list: the vocal harmonies that Greg and Kevin Whelan combine with Charles Bissell. The ten trillion cells in my body resonate to the sound of their voices.

Mac McCaughan alone doesn’t quite have that effect of me, but when he and Ballance, Jim Wilbur, Jon Wurster, and (sometimes) Mountain Goat John Darnielle come together in song, they can’t really be beaten. One of those harmonic sweet spots lies just before the halfway point of “Hot Tubes” —  it just sort of sneaks up and before you know it, yer left lying there, dazzled.

Everything on Majesty Shredding left me wanting to hear Superchunk play it all live in front of me. I missed their Chicago show. That was a mistake. I don’t remember what I was doing the night they played, but I hope it was something worthwhile because now I think I missed a band that’s just released what might be the best record of 2010.

Categories: Other-views, Stripwax

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