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Superchunk: An Indie-Rock Role Model

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Superchunk: An Indie-Rock Role Model

Superchunk: An Indie-Rock Role Model

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

2010 is looking to be a good year for the indie rock band Superchunk. It marks the 21st anniversary of the band and the label they started, Merge Records.

Merge is having its best year ever on the album charts, while Superchunk has released its first new album in almost a decade. Here's our critic Will Hermes with his review of "Majesty Shredding."

(Soundbite of music)

WILL HERMES: Back in the '90s, Superchunk defined the sound and the ethos of indie rock with a self-released single called Slack Mo- something I can't say on broadcast radio.

(Soundbite of music)

SUPERCHUNK (Music Group): (Singing) (Unintelligible) working for you.

HERMES: Thats not an anthem for laziness. Just the opposite; the key line is: I'm workin', but I'm not workin' for you. That work paid off: This year, the band's business offspring, Merge Records, had three Top 10 albums by Spoon, She & Him and, most recently, The Arcade Fire, who scored the label's very first number one hit.

After 21 years together, Superchunk are role models for these youngsters and a whole generation of indie rock acts.

(Soundbite of music)

HERMES: But I'm glad that between marketing meetings and raising families, they're still making great music themselves.

(Soundbite of music)

SUPERCHUNK: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

HERMES: Yet Superchunk 2010 doesn't sound entirely different from Superchunk 1992. The melodies are still wound so tight they sound ready to break. Mac McCaughan's voice still sounds like a bullied twerp finally pushed to his limit. And the guitars, those beautiful guitars, still lurch and squeal like hair-metal dudes in a drunken cat fight.

(Soundbite of music)

HERMES: "Majesty Shredding," which Superchunk could have just as soon called "Shredding Majesty," fits the textbook definition of indie-rock: the pomp and spectacle of marketplace rock 'n' roll turned inside-out to show the seams, exposing the men and women behind the curtain who aren't much different than the rest of us.

(Soundbite of music)

SUPERCHUNK: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

HERMES: Is it calculated, artistic posturing, just like the guys in leather pants do? Sure. But it's also, apparently, a sustainable lifestyle. And I hope Superchunk keep it going long enough to show their grandkids how it's done.

(Soundbite of music)

SUPERCHUNK: (Singing) Don't touch me. (Unintelligible).

BLOCK: The new album from Superchunk is called "Majesty Shredding." Our reviewer is Will Hermes.

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