I am a completist. That is, when i get into
an artist, i really want to hear ALL of their music. Singles,
outtakes, b-sides, live versions, alternate takes, etc. I do
this, i think, as an attempt to understand the creative process.
To see all aspects of what an artist does in order to understand
why certain artists appeal to me as they do. Or maybe it is
just a bit of the old obsessive-compulsive disorder showing
through. At any rate, my rabid Superchunk fan-ness has prompted
me to track down the singles off of their latest album, Here's
To Shutting Up.
This one came out a few months after the album, and is centered
around the track Art Class (song for Yayoi Kusama), which
was well-liked around these parts when we
sat and discussed the album. There are two b-sides, a live
track, and a live video added on to round out the Single.
The first b-side is called Hot Break and is a bouncey
old-Superchunk rocker that could have been an outtake to Here's
Where The Strings Come In. Yeah, baby! It's got guitars
and drums and it moves along at a very nice pace. Good stuff.
The second b-side is extremely different. It's called Collection
of Accounts and is synthpop done a la Superchunk. A prominent
synth melody drives the song, along with Mac's very light, almost
falsetto-ish singing. The guitarwork is interesting on the whole
(depsite, or maybe because of, the cheesey 70's style guitar
solo near the end), and Laura's bass sounds really good. I like
the Superchunk synthpop stuff, so i find this track to be interesting.
If you, like some others i know, really wish they would ditch
the keyboards and get back to making songs like Hot Break,
then you probably won't like this song so much.
The musical portion of the Single ends with a live acoustic
version of Art Class. The song's mid-paced tempo works
well in an acoustic guitar format, and as an added bonus it
loses the Chris Lopez backing vocal that i disliked on the actual
album version. So, to me, this is an improvement over the album
version. Good stuff.
And finally, there is a video. I have ranted again
and again about
how i'm just not into video, but apparently lots of folks are.
Well, this is Art Class played live in concert. It's a decent
audio recording (a little too heavy on the bass) but a pretty
good video recording of the band in action. You get to see Laura
do her ubiquitous pogo, Jim flail his guitar around, Jon beat
the drums, and Mac sing. If you have never seen them, then it's
probably very cool. If you have, then i bet that, like me, you
will find that something is missing from the live experience
when watching the video. Still, it's not terrible.
Overall, this is a good Single. If you enjoyed Here's
To Shutting Up, then this is definitely a release
to look out for. If you aren't a Superchunk fan already though,
then this probably isn't for you.