Superchunk is a rock ‘n’ roll outfit with a career that is 25 years in the making. Their humble beginnings were at the outset of the grunge revolution in the early ’90s and their sound has progressed from punk-alternative anthems to introspective, but confident rock numbers, tinged with a bit of angst. Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance, Superchunk guitarist and bassist, respectively, are responsible not only for a catalogue of nine critically buzzed-about records, but also spawned and continue to run the indie label giant, Merge Records. With their newest album on the docket for release in August, titled I Hate Music, Superchunk is amping up for a tour, which includes Calgary’s own Sled Island.
What is so compelling about Superchunk is their ability to stay true to their sound and their creative process, a philosophy that inspired, in part, the launch of Merge. The pressure of being the band to start the Chapel Hill Scene, which has seen the genesis of bands like Ben Folds Five and The Carolina Chocolate Drops, hasn’t prompted the band to re-invent. Lead singer Mac McCaughan says, “I think that re-invention is weird because it almost implies that what you were doing before wasn’t good, or something. I feel like, for us, one thing that is important is to be able to grow and take risks, but still recognize strengths. So, I think that we’ve always tried to do something different with each record but without trying to sound like a different band because that’s not who you are. Something seems a little gimmicky about that, and we’ve tried really hard not to sound gimmicky.”
Superchunk’s efforts to remain singularly steadfast about honesty in their sound has put their name on the list of one of the most pivotal indie bands of the ’90s, but has also proved their prowess as a band that continues to respond to their fans and produce music that is both relatable and unique.
Superchunk will play at Republik on June 20.
By Therese Schultz
Photo: Jason Arthurs