Superchunk & Opinions on The Decemberists

Members of the North Carolina band Superchunk stop by to talk about their two decades of DIY- indie rock. They perform songs from their latest release Majesty Shredding.

Superchunk
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A group of musicians led by the estate of jazz musician Chet Baker filed a lawsuit against the four major record labels in Canada. The labels were using artists’ songs for compilation albums, but had yet to pay any royalties. Now they’re paying up to the tune of $47 million.

Music publisher and television host Don Kirshner died this week at age 76. Kirshner began his career in music at the Brill Building, working with songwriters and producers like Carole King and Phil Spector. He then developed bubblegum acts The Monkees and The Archies before going on to host Don Kirshner’s Rock Hour in 1973. Greg and Jim both fondly remember watching Kirshner’s stiff, deadpan intros to that era’s great acts including Kiss, Led Zeppelin and Sly and the Family Stone. To pay homage to Kirshner, Jim and Greg choose to play Blue Oyster Cult’s Marshall Plan, which features a sample of an intro by Kirshner.

Superchunk

It’s a cliché to say it, but when you look up indie rock, you do in fact see a photo of Superchunk. Since forming in 1989, the North Carolina quartet have helped establish indie rock’s DIY model, as well as its sound. Superchunk bassist Laura Ballance and guitarist Mac McCaughan also founded Merge Records, one of the music industry’s most successful indie labels. The label is still home to the band, as well as The Arcade Fire, Spoon and Teenage Fanclub. Mac, Laura and bandmates Jim Wilbur and Jon Wurster talk with Jim and Greg about how they’ve done it their way for so long. They also perform songs from their most recent release Majesty Shredding.

The King is Dead The Decemberists

The King Is Dead

Since 2004, The Decemberists have evolved into full-blown theatricality. Now they scale it back with their sixth album The King is Dead. According to Jim, it’s with this record that they silence critics of their prog antics and prove at their heart they’re simply about great songwriting. Lead singer Colin Meloy and the band looked to American folk and roots music and enlisted R.E.M.’s Peter Buck for a track. Greg finds the results more straightforward. The King is Dead shows that less is more and gets a double Buy It.

Jim

Jim gets to pop a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and he admits his choice is more about him than the music. He hates moving – especially in January in Chicago. The boxes and boxes of music books, records, CDs and even cassettes don’t make the task any easier. But on the upside, Jim explains, he could finally set up his turntable again. He christened his new place by throwing on the vinyl of Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones, and despite all the stress of moving, everything felt better. Jim even enjoyed the skipping during the album’s second track Sway, so he decided to add it to his desert island collection.

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