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Preview: Superchunk

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the Chapel Hill, N.C. band coming to One Eyed Jacks Feb. 8



A few things happened during Superchunk's near-decade off from recording (2001-2010): George W. Bush, euros, Ali G, iPhone, Twitter, Avatar and Arcade Fire. When Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance returned to the studio for their ninth LP, Majesty Shredding, the pair was known less for the Chapel Hill, N.C., band they founded than the label it launched — Merge Records, indie-cum-powerhouse incubator for the albums In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, 69 Love Songs, Funeral, Gimme Fiction, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, The Suburbs and, of course, every Superchunk record since 1994's Foolish, a hyper enough string of emotive blown-speaker classics on which McCaughan sounds like the secret energy source for the Research Triangle. Where Majesty Shredding is notable for its lack of wear and tear — McCaughan and Ballance mothballing their redlined vocal-and-guitar attack until the world almost had forgotten it, staying in shape by crashing a random festival or covering Destiny's Child — 2013 follow-up I Hate Music is the accumulation of all that aging, played back in double-time time-lapse. The abrasives who used to rail against cool kids and slack co-workers now use music as both a viable economic engine and vibrant canvas for explaining what they've lost — friends and youth, sure, but never drive or edge. "Me & You & Jackie Mittoo" echoes The Replacements' "I Hate Music" ("The feeling of space between all of the notes/ But I got nothing else, so I guess here we go"), but front-of-the-house shout "FOH" and old-school anthem "Low F" win out. The wildest minute is a thrashing interlude dedicated to staying home, a sentiment that says plenty about Superchunk. When this is the house band, why go anywhere else? Waxahatchee, aka one-woman wonder Katie Crutchfield, opens. Tickets $18. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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