Superchunk at WFUV (photo by Maeve Burke)
If indie rock had a superhero, fair to say it might be Superchunk. Formed in the late Eighties in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by guitarist and songwriter Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance, the two simultaneously launched the venerable indie label, Merge Records, both as a vehicle to release their own albums, and recordings of their friends.
For fans, it’s been awe-inspiring to witness both entities flourish over the nearly three decades since. Merge has been home to some of the most important indie releases during that time, including Arcade Fire’s first three albums, and Superchunk cranked out eight well-loved albums before taking a break in 2001.
Since 2010, they have been back at it, with some of the best work of their career. Ballance no longer tours, but she still records with the band. Superchunk's latest album, called What A Time To Be Alive, comes after another lengthy break; it showcases the band in top form, if not re-energized by the current political climate.
During this special acoustic session, an intimate performance of the new songs and I had a chance sit down with McCaughan and guitarist Jim Wilbur to talk about the new album.