If you didn’t get up at the crack of dawn yesterday to run out and purchase your physical copy of Majesty Shredding — Superchunk’s first full-length LP to drop in nine years — then you fucked up. In fact, if you’re still continuing to live your life without that magical, majestic new disc more than 24 hours longer than you’ve had to, then you’re still fucking up. Stop it. Seriously, don’t you remember guitars? You shouldn’t even take the time to finish reading this post — get your ass to Grimey’s and double down on that shit before your family gets so disappointed in your complacency that they cut you out of the will.
As you leave the record shop, feel no shame in your impatience to get home, open up the blinds of your cry room for the first time in nine years, and let the album’s balls-to-wall barrage of hooks and harmonies lighten up your life, as you behold the full-fledged return of Mac McCaughan’s written-ON-guitar-FOR-guitar indie-rawk anthems, the fuzz-laden underbelly of Laura Ballance’s bass tones and the steel-solid, jackhammer drumming of Jon Wurster.
Please proceed with caution though. Once the disc starts spinning in your car stereo, you’ll likely become so enthralled that you’ll Evil Knievel your whip through traffic lights with profound color-blindness, inevitably causing you to paint the eight pints of vein-Kool-Aid God gave you across the windshields of all those unlucky enough to have found themselves in oncoming traffic. Sure, Majesty Shredding just might shred so hard that it leads you to recklessly bring a closed-casket-inducing curtain-call to the tragic short story that was your life, but at least your friends and family can take comfort in the fact that you peacefully perished while doing what you loved best — speeding down the boulevard, blasting punky power-pop songs that must be played at volumes loud enough to obscure police sirens and mandate air-drumming as an obvious priority over manual steering. It’s 2010, can you really ask for much more out of life, or death, these days?
I know it all sounds so morbidly hyperbolic, but the last band to rock as hard as Superchunk was Superchunk, and that's some dour shit. Remember how I saw 'Chunk last fall and they expelled enough unbridled rock ’n’ roll energy to hang tough with today’s most uninhibited Infinity Cat band? Well, if you still have your doubts, then check out the characteristically side-splitting clip for the record’s leadoff track, “Digging For Something,” which I posted above.
If you’re one of the 25 smartest people in town — i.e., you went to last Sunday’s Love Language show at Exit/In then you might recognize ‘Chunk’s fresh-faced Merge label-mates prominently featured as members of Superchunk 2.0 — you'll see, the video sort of picks up where Pavement’s “Painted Soldiers” video leaves off.
Speaking of that Love Language show the other night: What the fuck, Nashville? That band put on the kind of passionate performance that turned 25 raving fans into an eventual 1,250 fans and you were, by and large, totally absent. (Remember how Dr. Dog played to a sympathetic handful of folks at The Basement four years ago, and now they’re set to headline Live on the Green? Right.) For real, all you bands who begrudge the straggling drunks who have the misfortune of seeing you lifelessly grind your way through your songs like you’re peaking at an Ambien party when your band plays ninth at 8 off 8th could’ve a learned a thing or two about playing your hearts out for the people who are there instead of bemoaning the people who aren’t. Also, Love Language auteur Stuart McLamb’s bedroom-pop mini-masterpieces sound like they were written, manically arranged and drunkenly rehearsed in an eight-track studio built inside Brian Wilson’s brain, so you should really just like them for that reason alone.
Now, back to Superchunk. Their new album rocks. They don’t sound old. In fact, they sound younger than they did on 2001’s Here’s to Shutting Up, as this record is not only a return to the studio, but a return to form — sounding more like they did on Here’s Where the Strings Come In than they did after Indoor Living, when the keyboards came in. Or on Come Pick Me Up, when strings actually did, literally, come in.
For the record, I love all the band’s latter records, I’m just sayin’. …
Anyway, I’m a big fan, and having this record come out and actually rock feels like finding out a presumed-dead outlaw relative is actually alive, well and living it up as an absconding Argentinian millionaire.