Majesty Shredding, the ninth album by Chapel Hill’s Superchunk, is the iconic indie-rock band almost exactly as you remember them back from the days of burgeoning American DIY scene and albums like ’91s No Pocky for Kitty and ’93s Mower. The agitated, guitar pop of “Digging for Something,” and “My Gap Feels Weird,” with vocalist/guitarist Mac McCaughan straining and screaming like a much younger man over piercing melodies more apt for much younger ears, draws a direct line between Merge Records, the self-made label for many of the band’s early releases, and Merge Records, the modern-day home of indie A-listers Spoon and The Arcade Fire. Accordingly, as they sonically place themselves in the mindset of twenty-somethings taking on the world, there is a maturity found here which wasn’t present in those recordings. The band no longer has to scrap every bit of success. Every setback in McCaughan’s life is no longer a soul-shattering event. While “Crossed Wires,” may be a bad mood set to song, there’s a level of maturity and ownership here, one which was lacking in a song like “Hyper Enough” from ’95s Here Where the Strings Come In. It’s the difference between saying I know I’m f*cked today, so you best be careful around me and why am I s0 f*cked today and why are you still bothering me? Or, as McCaughan explains his new, healthy emotional self on the flipside’s standout cut, “Learned to Surf,” “When I learned to talk/Humans roamed the earth/I can’t hold my breath anymore/I stopped sinking and learned to surf.” 7 out of 10 on the Rockometer.
- July 20, 2015
Political punk rock comes with a unique risk. What if all the causes you've been championing have been overtaken by more pressing issues by the time your album hits the streets? In our era, dominated by hot takes and social media firestorms, remaining topical is even more difficult. When you consider anarcho-punk forebearers, Crass were left to question their own strategy after Thatcher began and ended the Falkland's War in the early '80s while the band worked for more than a year on the double album, Christ - The Album, a modern band surely faces an even more daunting task, right? Who cares about Occupation Wall Street any more? In the past month gay marriage is the law of the land and the Confederate flag has (finally) become a poisonous symbol. A diplomatic, nuclear arms treaty with Iran has been agreed upon and a Cuban flag is flying outside of an embassy in Washington DC. The United States of 2015 is a far different place than the United States of 2012, when Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, and his long, dormant band, Desaparecidos reunited for a second round of incendiary arena-punk. Read More