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Superchunk

Incidental Music 1991 - 1995 (RSD22 EDITION)

    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2022 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

    Superchunk's Incidental Music: 1991-1995 is the bandís second compilation of singles, B-sides, and EPs, originally released in 1995 shortly after their landmark album Foolish. It collects fan favorites from soundtracks such as "Shallow End" and B-sides like "On the Mouth", as well as covers of The Magnetic Fields, The Verlaines, The Chills, and even Motorhead. All Music's Fred Thomas says it all: Incidental Music is an essential piece of the Superchunk discography and a snapshot of the band as it transitioned from the scrubby radiance of its early days into the more nuanced songwriting machine it became throughout the mid-90s.

    Exclusively for Record Store Day 2022, the double LP makes its first reappearance on vinyl since its original release, with LP1 on opaque green and LP2 on opaque orange housed in a gatefold jacket.

    Superchunk

    Endless Summer

      The first single from Wild Loneliness, “Endless Summer,” features the harmonies of Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley. Participating independent record shops will carry an exclusive translucent lime green edition. Both versions of the 7” contain a cover of The Glands’ “When I Laugh” as the B-side, originally released as part of Merge’s Going to Georgia benefit compilation.

      Superchunk

      Wild Loneliness

        Like every record Superchunk has made over the last thirty-some years, Wild Loneliness is unskippably excellent and infectious. It’s a blend of stripped-down and lush, electric and acoustic, highs and lows, and I love it all. On Wild Loneliness I hear echoes of Come Pick Me Up, Here’s to Shutting Up, and Majesty Shredding. After the (ahem, completely justifiable) anger of What a Time to Be Alive, this new record is less about what we’ve lost in these harrowing times and more about what we have to be thankful for. (I know something about gratitude.

        I’ve been a huge Superchunk fan since the 1990s, around the same time I first found my way to poetry, so the fact that I’m writing these words feels like a minor miracle.) On Wild Loneliness, it feels like the band is refocusing on possibility, and possibility is built into the songs themselves, in the sweet surprises tucked inside them. I say all the time that what makes a good poem the “secret ingredient” is surprise. Perhaps the same is true of songs. Like when the sax comes in on the title track, played by Wye Oak’s Andy Stack, adding a completely new texture to the song. Or when Owen Pallett’s strings come in on “This Night.” But my favorite surprise on Wild Loneliness is when the harmonies of Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley of Teenage Fanclub kick in on “Endless Summer.”

        It’s as perfect a pop song as you’ll ever hear sweet, bright, flat-out gorgeous and yet it grapples with the depressing reality of climate change: “Is this the year the leaves don’t lose their color / and hummingbirds, they don’t come back to hover / I don’t mean to be a giant bummer but / I’m not ready / for an endless summer, no / I’m not ready for an endless summer.” I love how the music acts as a kind of counterweight to the lyrics.

        Because of COVID, Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon each recorded separately, but a silver lining is that this method made other long-distance contributions possible, from R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Sharon Van Etten, Franklin Bruno, and Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, among others. Some of the songs for the record were written before the pandemic hit, but others, like “Wild Loneliness,” were written from and about isolation.

        I’ve been thinking of songs as memory machines. Every time we play a record, we remember when we heard it before, and where we were, and who we were. Music crystallizes memories so well: listening to “Detroit Has a Skyline,” suddenly I’m shout[1]singing along with it at a show in Detroit twenty years ago; listening to Overflows,” I’m transported back to whisper-singing a slowed-down version of it to my young son, that year it was his most-requested lullaby.

        Wild Loneliness is becoming part of my life, part of my memories, too. And it will be part of yours. I can picture people in 20, 50, or 100 years listening to this record and marveling at what these artists created together beauty, possibility, surprise during this alarming (and alarmingly isolated) time. But why wait? Let’s marvel now. - Maggie Smith

        TRACK LISTING

        SIDE A
        City Of The Dead
        Endless Summer
        On The Floor
        Highly Suspect
        Set It Aside
        SIDE B
        This Night
        Wild Loneliness
        Refracting
        Connection
        If You’re Not Dark

        Superchunk

        Here's To Shutting Up (Reissue)

          To write the songs for Here’s to Shutting Up, we gathered in Jim’s garage (he lived way out in the woods) a couple times a week for what seemed like months. We started from actual scratch with no demos or concepts, just playing instrumental music with our usual gear plus a Casio. Sometimes one of us would play the keys instead of our normal instrument, or Jon would hop on guitar and we’d use the Casio drum machine for the beat. We ended up with a LOT of ideas and plenty of good names for them—“Frank’s Bath,” “There’s Something About Marvin,” and “Bestial Warning” to name a few. We recorded practice onto MiniDisc or cassette, and I would ride around listening to these demos and thinking of words. The subject matter, in retrospect, has a lot to do with touring and travel (“Out on the Wing,” “What Do You Look Forward To?”), coming home (“Rainy Streets,” “Act Surprised”), the 2000 election (“Florida’s on Fire”), and late-stage capitalism (“Late-Century Dream,” “The Animal Has Left Its Shell”).

          September 2001: Here’s to Shutting Up was meant to be released on September 18, 2001. On September 11, obviously the world changed. Our release date moved a couple weeks, but our tour dates remained and we flew to Japan in October. It was a WILD time to be traveling the world. Receptions ranged from “thank you for giving us something else to think about” to “why are you here?” We flew home from Japan and left for the UK the day the US started bombing Afghanistan. This was the climate, and the climate was not great for playing rock music. People were thinking about other things. Our friend Annie Hayden (of the band Spent) joined us on keyboards and guitar for the US leg which was an exciting expansion of our lineup and a fun way to play old songs in a new way. We had some great shows along the way and got to tour with excellent openers like Rilo Kiley, The Good Life, and Aereogramme. But the fear in the air and the length of the tour was exhausting. 

          TRACK LISTING

          SIDE A
          1 Late Century Dream
          2 Rainy Streets
          3 Phone Sex
          4 Florida’s On Fire
          5 Out On The Wing

          SIDE B
          6 The Animal Has Left Its Shell
          7 Act Surprised
          8 Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama)
          9 What Do You Look Forward To?
          10 Drool Collection

          LP Bonus CD | CD2:
          1 Late-Century Dream (acoustic Demo)
          2 Rainy Streets (acoustic Demo)
          3 The Hot Break (acoustic Demo)
          4 Florida’s On Fire (acoustic Demo)
          5 Act Surprised (acoustic Demo)
          6 A Collection Of Accounts (acoustic Demo)
          7 Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama) (acoustic Demo)
          8 Flying Aka Out On The Wing (acoustic Demo)
          9 Becoming A Speck (acoustic Demo)
          10 Frank’s Bath Aka Phone Sex (acoustic Demo)
          11 The Animal Has Left Its Shell (acoustic Demo)
          12 Corp Song Aka What Do You Look Forward To? (acoustic Demo)
          13 Drool Collection (acoustic Demo)

          Superchunk

          Acoustic Foolish

            Originally released in 1996, Foolish turns 25 in 2019. 

            From Mac McCaughan: Our original idea for an all-acoustic album was for it to be a selection of songs from all our albums, played in the style of an acoustic performance in a record store or a radio station, which we have done quite a bit of over the years (and documented on the first of our “Clambake” series in 2001). But with 2019 being the 25th anniversary of the Foolish album, it seemed weirder and more interesting to record an acoustic version of one whole album. I didn’t want this to sound like “acoustic demos recorded 25 years after the fact” or a band trying to “rock out” except on acoustic guitars, though to be fair we do some rocking out. Once we got into the process of learning how to play the songs on acoustic guitars—some of which we had never performed at all—it made sense to make this record its own thing altogether. When Foolish came out, people kind of freaked out that all the guitar sounds weren’t as distorted as they had been, and it was treated as a radical departure from what we had been doing. Which is funny listening to the original album now because it pretty much sounds like our other records. But I started thinking about the acoustic version of the album as “what Foolish would have sounded like if it were as different as people acted like it was.” So—we have guests, we have strings, we have piano, we have a saxophone! The songs themselves, extracted from the drama of the moment and what people wanted to write about then, are more applicable to Real Life than I thought they would be. Without the embarrassing angst of the 25-year-old, they are just songs about transitions, holding grudges or trying not to, letting go of things that aren’t healthy, moving through difficult situations and relationships and trying to be “normal” in the course of all that, even though there’s no such thing. We are lucky to have Allison Crutchfield, Matt Douglas, Peter Holsapple, Owen Pallett, and Jenn Wasner lend their great talents to the record and also lucky that Jon has an arsenal of small bells and a vibraslap.

            Acoustic Foolish recorded live by John Plymale at Overdub Lane Strings by Owen Pallett on “Like a Fool” & “In a Stage Whisper”. Guest vocals by Allison Crutchfield (of P.S. Eliot, Swearin’) on “The First Part” Guest vocals by Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak, Flock of Dimes) on “Keeping Track” Piano by Peter Holsapple (of the dB’s) on “Stretched Out” & “Driveway to Driveway” Saxophone by Matt Douglas (of the Mountain Goats) on “Saving My Ticket” and “In a Stage Whisper”.

            TRACK LISTING

            SIDE A
            1 Like A Fool
            2 The First Part
            3 Water Wings
            4 Driveway To Driveway
            5 Saving My Ticket
            6 Kicked In

            SIDE B

            7 Why Do You Have To Put A Date On Everything
            8 Without Blinking
            9 Keeping Track
            10 Revelations
            11 Stretched Out
            12 In A Stage Whisper

            Superchunk

            Superchunk

              When I listen to our first album now, other than cringing at some clams and the vocals and the juvenile attitude of the whole thing... what was I angry about? You'll have to ask 21-year-old me because in my memory, we were having fun. I hear the accumulation of our influences, which I suppose is normal for a first album—weaving all the things you loved up to that point into your own first thing.

              The Buzzcocks, Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr, and Sonic Youth are all right there and what we were listening to. I was living in NYC finishing school when we made this record, so rehearsals and recording were all rushed. I'm surprised we knew this many songs well enough to record them. Twenty-seven years later, we still play at least three or four of these songs live occasionally (one of them all the time...), which says something good about a few of the songs, anyway! We got so much better as a band, and as songwriters, that it's hard to even see this as any kind of template for what Superchunk would eventually be, but it's definitely where we were at in 1989/90, Mac McCaughan. 

              TRACK LISTING

              1 Sick To Move
              2 My Noise
              3 Let It Go
              4 Swinging
              5 Slow
              6 Slack Motherfucker
              7 Binding
              8 Down The Hall
              9 Half A Life
              10 Not Tomorrow


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