“What a Time to Be Alive” by Superchunk

"What a Time to Be Alive" by Superchunk is Northern Transmissions' 'Song of the Day'

Superchunk will release What a Time to Be Alive, on February 16th, 2018, the band’s first album in over four years. “The album is about a lot of things of course but mainly dealing with anxiety and worse in the face of incipient authoritarianism.” It’s a record, says Mac, “about a pretty dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen to.”

The urgency of current events after the demoralizing 2016 election gave Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon the momentum to make something new sooner rather than later. “It would be strange to be in a band, at least our band, and make a record that completely ignored the surrounding circumstances that we live in and that our kids are going to grow up in.”

Indeed, like so much of Superchunk’s music in the band’s nearly three decades together, the songs on What a Time to Be Alive meet rage and anxiety head-on with the catharsis and exhilaration of loud punk fire and vulnerable pop energy. Like 2013’s I Hate Music, which focused on death, loss, and the role of music in an aging life, the new record brings spirit to the frontlines of pain—it’s as defiant as it is despairing, as much a call to arms as a throwing up of hands.

Written almost entirely between November 2016 and February 2017, What a Time to Be Alive was recorded and mixed by Beau Sorenson, who also worked on I Hate Music. The record also features more guest backing vocalists than any previous Superchunk album, including Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit), Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Skylar Gudasz, and David Bazan. “Part of that was wanting a feeling of community,” says Mac. “I think that’s important to not be completely bummed out about everything all the time.”

Superchunk is Jim Wilbur, Jon Wurster, Laura Ballance, and Mac McCaughan. The touring band that includes Jason Narducy on bass in place of Laura has announced a slew of new North American tour dates beginning in February.

Live dates

Feb 15 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar*
Feb 17 Richmond, VA – The Broadberry*
Feb 21 San Diego, CA – The Casbah*
Feb 22 Los Angeles, CA – The Moroccan Lounge*
Feb 23 Los Angeles, CA – The Teragram Ballroom*
Feb 24 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall @ Noise Pop Festival*
Feb 26 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios*
Feb 27 Seattle, WA – Neumos*
Feb 28 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre*
Apr 03 Washington, DC – Black Cat^
Apr 04 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer^
Apr 06 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair^
Apr 07 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom^
Apr 08 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom^
Apr 26 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
Apr 27 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Apr 28 Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle

* w/ Bat Fangs
^ w/ Swearin’