Given, oh, the last 18 years of Superchunk’s career, it’s a mammoth stretch to say that the Merge flagship is back in the saddleor even looking for one. Between 1990 and 1996, Superchunk released six albums and several dozen 7-inches and EPs and played a few hundred shows across the world. “Misfits and Mistakes,” the ferocious three-minute track they recorded with John Plymale in Durham, is the band’s first new release since 2004, though, and this year they’ve got just two scheduled dates (June 20 in Chicago with The Mountain Goats; June 24 in New York).
Still, on “Misfits and Mistakes,” recorded for but scrapped from the soundtrack for Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, they at least sound like a band reborn and refired, Mac McCaughan and Jim Wilbur’s guitars splitting hairs and slicing in and out of one of the most dynamic, movement-oriented Superchunk rhythms sections ever. With a doubletime snap, staccato hi-hats and a synthesizer filling creases between the verses, it’s almost dance-punk through the head. At least until it’s not: During the bridge, Laura Ballance drops a heavy, almost sludgy bass thrum, McCaughan catapulting from it into a perfect two-shot hook. The coda is all No Pocky for Kitty fury, tumultuous guitar passes ricocheting off one another before curling up and away into a fade-out. This is a notable late entry in Superchunk’s singles collection, for sure.
The B-side hands vocals to Dave Willis, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force co-creator and the voice of Meatwad. It’s a nice trifle, butrelative to the flip side’s testament that most MTVemos still can’t pogo as relentlessly as these four settled-down late 30- or 40-somethingsit’s just that. Still, if Meatwad were here, he’d totally ask Superchunk for more.
Correction (June 13, 2007): The June 13, 2007, print edition of the Independent Weekly incorrectly stated how long Superchunk has been a band. They have been a band since 1989, or for 18 years.