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May 12

Superchunk: “Skip Steps 1 & 3”

Superchunk -- No Pocky for Kitty

What does it mean? Well of course, Kitty gets violent when he doesn't get his Pocky cookie sticks. Duh!

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Superchunk has one of the most amusing band names around, for my money. And the name would just be a good laugh if it weren’t for the fact that they have always put out such consistently great “post-punk” rock. There’s no such thing as a bad Superchunk album — if you like melodic, punk-ish songs without the attitude, Superchunk is your band, and you’ll probably enjoy most of their albums. They’ve always reminded me a bit of a slightly looser Buzzcocks minus the self-deprecating sense of humor. Mac McCaughan’s singing is mixed farther back than Pete Shelley’s was, but his unaffected vocals achieve a similar result.

Superchunk was one of the most critically acclaimed indie rock bands of the ’90s, but never achieved much in the way of commercial success. They’ve been pretty quiet in the 2000s, with just two albums, in 2001 and 2010. I haven’t heard that they’ve officially called it quits, so you never know if there might be more to come. But in the meantime, they have a scad of great albums to enjoy — my favorite of which is still the first one of theirs that I ever bought: their fantastic second album, No Pocky for Kitty, released in 1991. The leadoff track, “Skip Steps 1 & 3,” still ranks as one of their best songs, but there are many others that run a close second, so don’t take my word for it. It’s a powerful blast of jagged-yet-melodic indie rock, a sound that influenced many bands to follow. Maybe, just maybe, if Nevermind hadn’t been released that same year, effectively swamping the rest of the indie music landscape at the time, Superchunk would be a much more widely known band. But no excuses are necessary. They kept at it anyway, thankfully for fans of great indie rock — so if you aren’t already a fan, wait no longer: get your ‘Chunk on!

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