Today at Buzzyband we are going to delve into another one of our favorite indie bands. Superchunk has been a fixture of the indie scene since their debut in the ’90s and they have mustered every changing wave of the music industry since then with their DIY ethos (except for a dry stint in the 2000s which they recovered from) and their grounded pop-punk blend. They are still proving themselves to have lasting power as they are on track to release their twelfth album on February 2022, but before we get to that let’s check out their humble origins.
Before they became one of the seminal indie punk rock bands out there they were formed in 1989 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance, Jack McCook drummer Chuck Garrison. McCaughan and Ballance then formed Merge Records that year where they would release their eponymous debut album in 1990.
The self-titled Superchunk would find the band in their primordial form, not quite sure who they are yet but already exhibiting the speed and riffs that came to define their earlier work. “Sick to Move” is filled with dense riffs and wall-banging rhythms. “Sick of no direction / I’m sick of my reflection”, McCaughan sings in its anthemic chorus. A restless ode to the lost youth. The record is catchy and loud, with plenty of great sing-along moments that would define the pop-leaning rock landscape of the following decades. Browsing through fan’s comments on some of these earlier works, I’ve noted a couple saying that some of the songs in the record sound like the emo/post-punk songs of the ’00s and 2010s. I tend to agree to some extent, and this only proves the long-lasting influence of the band.
Another highlight of the record is the following track “My Noise”, where the band fully embraces their sound and the whole philosophy behind it: “it’s my life / it’s my voice / It is stupid / It is my noise”. Such a simple line but it says it all for the rest of the album.
But the biggest hit for this debut is the single “Slack Motherfucker”, which to this day remains one of the most popular songs for the band and is considered one of their strongest anthem. It’s a song written about a co-worker slacking off on the job, which was mistakenly associated by the media to be an anthem for the lazy and unambitious youth of that time (as the media tends to do). Still, that doesn’t diminish its greatness, it’s just another page in the band’s journey through the years.