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Superchunk - Majesty Shredding (Cover Artwork)

Superchunk

Superchunk: Majesty ShreddingMajesty Shredding (2010)
Merge Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: Mrdogg45Mrdogg45
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For a band with the kind of history that Superchunk has, it's easy to get caught up in exposition. With that in mind, let's sum things up in three points: Superchunk first started out in 1989. Over time, they developed from Dinosaur Jr. college rock to a sort of missing link between the Get Up Ki.
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For a band with the kind of history that Superchunk has, it's easy to get caught up in exposition. With that in mind, let's sum things up in three points:

  1. Superchunk first started out in 1989. Over time, they developed from Dinosaur Jr. college rock to a sort of missing link between the Get Up Kids and the Hold Steady.
  2. Members of the band started Merge Records, a label most known for Arcade Fire and Spoon.
  3. Its most recent album, Majesty Shredding, is its first since 2001.

OK, so, Majesty Shredding.

This album is a goddamn treat. Superchunk's latest is beautiful in its simplicity: just a batch of well-written, smartly structured rock and roll songs. This is the kind of record one can throw on at any time, at any point, and enjoy the hell out of it for no other reason than it's fun to listen to.

The band's greatest strength is its ability to bridge the gap between boner-inducing guitar work and smart pop hooks. The album's best songs, "Rosemarie," "Crossed Wires," "Learned to Surf" and "Everything at Once" are nothing but these two principles looped endlessly. This especially goes for "Rosemarie" and "Everything at Once," which are two of the most pleasant pop songs of the year. The former is a mid-tempo track that boasts the kind of effortlessly catchy chorus that people have killed themselves trying to make, while the latter is a blast of gang vocals and high-pitched rock guitar from a by-gone era where punks could actually play their instruments.

Of course, if you aren't into that whole New Pornographers, textbook-perfect pop music thing, there are the straightforward rockers: those catchy, grimy fuckers that take a simple progression and bang the shit out of it. Lead singer and guitarist Mac McCaughan is a six-string monster, laying down buzzed-out '90s-style solos at the drop of a hat on top of a band so locked in it sounds like they could play this shit in their sleep. If you wanted to teach a class on how to make a great alt-rock sound in the classic, late '80s-to-early '90s college rock style, you would play "Digging for Something," "My Gap Feels Weird" and "Learned to Surf" on the first day.

Majesty Shredding is the sound of a band with supreme confidence, backed by the power of knowing how they want to sound and getting exactly what they set out for. It's music born of time and relaxation. When you've got a 20-year pedigree, you don't need to prove shit to anyone. Not working for affection makes this album all the sweeter.

Oh, and John Darnielle sings backing vocals on the first track. Fucking Superchunk, just dropping john Darnielle in its album like it ain't no thing. You cocky shits. I love you.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyIron Chic - Not Like ThisThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Hold Steady - Heaven Is WheneverFrank Turner - England Keep My BonesAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Menzingers - Chamberlain Waits

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SlackMFr (October 21, 2010)

Album of the year & the decade. Deal with it youngsters!

greg0rb (October 16, 2010)

Holy shit. Listening to the stream on merge's site.... and yeah, this rules!! Where have you been all my life, Superchunk?!

JVoland (October 11, 2010)

Jon Wurster also plays drums for The Mountain Goats... so it probably wasn't a thing at all to get him to sing backups.

mark-eh (October 7, 2010)

This album is so much fun, not my favourite of theirs yet, but give it time!

eatdogs (October 7, 2010)

to Cos:
here's the funny thing, but i actually stopped watching most of mxtxvx back then in the late 90's. with just a few minor exceptions, all those bands i mentioned really did make up my world. i regularly saw them on 120 minutes and alternative nation. oh, and i was also a raver too... lots an lots of mxtxvx amp. lol

Cos (October 7, 2010)

Hey eatdogs--
To my mind (I'm 5 years older than you) the 90s music scene was more about shit like Stone Temple Pilots and Limp Bizkit than just about any of the bands that you mentioned. Sure, there was some great stuff going on then, but there's just as much great stuff going on now. Although, I'm still bummed I never got to see the Morphine/Soul Coughing double bill (the Blues Explosion was set to open too--I had my ticket and everything--and then the singer of Morphine had to die on stage. Fuck drugs).

JerryCola (October 6, 2010)

This record is easily taking the #1 spot on my list for best albums of 2010.

I'm not a fan of Here's To Shutting Up so it's really awesome to hear them go back to the basics and just make an incredibly well rounded rock album without sounding like it was a re-tread of previous efforts.

eatdogs (October 6, 2010)

superchuck are great, but they aren't the type of band the younglings would skip attack attack! at warped tour to see if that was the case. yeah, i'm generalizing, but it's probably, mostly true. it's a bit sad that music has DEVOlved so much... i miss the 90's music scene so much sometimes. oh, and i'm 26. superchunk were there right smack dab in the middle alongside other cool bands like sonic youth, green day, my bloody valentine, deftones, the suicide machines, pavement, guided by voices, clinic and so on and so on and so on and so on...

hobbzoid (October 6, 2010)

punks can play their instruments.

monostereo (October 6, 2010)

Ha ha. I'm exactly 35 and I love the album. Grew up on Superchunk, Jawbreaker, Samiam, Seaweed, Fugazi, Lungfish, Swervedriver, etc. I think the younger kids would be into Superchunk if they gave them a chance, although I don't think Superchunk were received very well when they opened up for the Get Up Kids--which is a shame because the Get Up Kids are inferior in every way I can imagine. Funny thing is the Get Up Kids are an "old" band now too. Have to think that kids into some of the modern bands I like--Rvivr, State Lottery, Cheap Girls--would at least see the influence and think Superchunk's music is cool. But I suppose I had a lot of pre-conceived notions about the "older" bands when I was their age too.

bastard_squad (October 6, 2010)

35

mrdogg45 (October 6, 2010)

OK, maybe you guys won't be down with this, but I'm wondering what the median age for this album's fans are on this site. Like, are we all scaling older, or are there some teens that like this album? I know I'm in my mid-20s, and I'm on the younger end to be aware of Superchunk growing up.

R3vengeTherapy (October 6, 2010)

This record is so fucking good. "Digging for Something" and "Slow Drip" are flawless.

scully (October 6, 2010)

Great record, welcome back Superchunk!

greg0rb (October 5, 2010)

Love the last paragraph.

d_boons_ghost (October 5, 2010)

"My Gap Feels Weird" is the best song ever written on the subject of being in an old band and playing to a young crowd. The new version of "Learned To Surf" is great. The record, as a whole, is actually better than I had expected.

Please, for the love of all that is good, don't take another ten-year-long break.

ilikeilike (October 5, 2010)

Record of the year for me at the moment. Such a great album.

MN_DrNick (October 5, 2010)

Recently, I see Superchunk having a huge influence on the sound of Ted Leo the Pharmacists.

mrdogg45 (October 5, 2010)

Alright, alright. Yes, Superchunk is older than other the Get Up Kids and the Hold Steady combined. However, that doesn't change the fact that their music largely sounds like proto-emo beta-male lyrics (like the Get up Kids) coupled with big solos and smart hooks (like the Hold Steady).

Chronologically, its a bad metaphor, but I stand by it from a music standpoint.

StraightToHell82 (October 5, 2010)

I don't get it.
I think this is mostly boring.

Misanthropee (October 5, 2010)

Someone needs to confiscate this album from me so I can listen to something else for a while. It's getting kind of weird.

teaessare (October 5, 2010)

i dont think the missing link comment is all that bad. granted they started before the two bands, but soundwise i'd say they do sound like a cross between early get up kids and the hold steady.

bastard_squad (October 5, 2010)

Superchunk currently hold the best title for future STD documentary with: 'My Gap Feels Weird'

conblake (October 5, 2010)

why would u want punks to know how to play their instruments?

MN_DrNick (October 5, 2010)

Yeah... what's with that missing link comment?

bastard_squad (October 5, 2010)

Your review was fine, the album is stellar. I've been with them since '91 and right now, I think this is on track to be my favorite from them.

I just wish your review didn't start with these two things, it almost made me skip your review:

-Superchunk first started out in 1989. Over time, they developed from Dinosaur Jr. college rock to a sort of missing link between the Get Up Kids and the Hold Steady.
-Members of the band started Merge Records, a label most known for Arcade Fire and Spoon.

eatdogs (October 5, 2010)

i will always love muppet rock. superchunk deserve a lot of cred for many many things...

MN_DrNick (October 5, 2010)

This is Top Five of the year for me so far. It is definitely the strongest contender for #1.

scrumples (October 5, 2010)

A missing link between The Get Up Kids and The Hold Steady... from before either of those bands even existed. Come on, dude.

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