Great Mac McCaughan Moments – The Future of Radio

Mac testified before Congress. That in itself sounds super cool and important. Seriously, though, Mac testified on the future of radio, putting forth the importance of non-commercial, independent radio. Here is an excerpt:

I also want to urge this committee to take the necessary steps to ensure that our media landscape does not become even more consolidated. The deregulation that followed the 1996 Telecommunications Act allowed for unprecedented consolidation in commercial radio, which has resulted in a homogeneity that is often out-of-step with artists, entrepreneurs, media professionals and educators — not to mention listeners.

Full transcript can be found here and the audio version is found here.

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Great Mac McCaughan Moments – Falsetto

I’m not going to walk through Superchunk’s album history again as I covered it in my 4-part series starting here, so I will summarize to say that their first 5 albums (plus 2 singles collections) were all manner of rockin’.

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Great Mac McCaughan Moments – Slack MFer

Mac McCaughan is very prolific.  Co-founder / front-man / chief songwriter for Superchunk.  Main dude for Portastatic.  Co-founder / owner of awesome Merge records.  Defender of independent music labels and makers.  Visual artist.  And more.

All of these things have resulted in a constant stream of output over multiple decades.  Mac’s passion and talent can hardly be contained in his smallish frame, perhaps fueling the on-stage fits of rock-spasm that has always been a signature of Superchunk live shows.  This list highlights a number of moments that made me sit up, smile and think “Who is this guy?  Is there no end to his coolness?”.  This will be a multi-part series so please follow me on twitter or sign up for email reminders to stay on top of future posts.

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Worst Superchunk Song Ever

Over the past few weeks there has been an outcry by my loyal readers regarding the objectivity displayed by my work in the Superchunk field.  It is felt that my articles indicate a heavy bias and therefore invalidate the results of my research.

The following definition comes from

not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.

Obviously it is impossible to prove or disprove objectivity, but just to show how dedicated to objectivity I am I willing write this article that is objective to the opposite extreme.

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Social Media: Part 7 – Forums

My participation in forums has always been inconsistent. I tend to read a lot more than I write, but then I will go through little bursts of increased participation. Ultimately my activity has never been to the level of being recognized as a regular or “one of the gang”, but I do enjoy being a part of these forum communities that are focused on similar interests.

My first kick at this can was an overt attempt to attract attention. The comment sections at Videogum are a fun place to hang out, so I wrote a series of poems about Videogum and posted a link in the comments. This currently sits as the #11 viewed page of all time.

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Review: Superchunk – Majesty Shredding

When I first received Majesty Shredding at the beginning of this week I figured that by the time I sat down to write this review there would be a lot of “this song sounds like Indoor Living and that song sounds like Come Pick Me Up“.  I then settled into the first listen of the full album and I live tweeted my initial thoughts on each song (see here).  No such comparisons came out of that first listen and after a week “living” with the album that is still not what I want to talk about.

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Review: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

The reason this is a great album is Same But Different.  The most engaging artists always have a unique, identifiable sounds such that you can pick them out immediately.  But that does not mean that every song and album sound the same.  To the contrary, the best bands stretch their musical muscle from album to album, applying their uniqueness in different ways.

The Arcade Fire is one of these bands and The Suburbs sounds very different and at the same time very the same.  The Suburbs leans more towards the pop/rock side of things than we have seen on previous records.  Less dense with more hooks.

Modern Man has a beat and guitar line that oozes 80’s radio rock goodness.  Month of May takes this idea to the next level, fuzzing up the guitar and picking up the pace.  It makes me think of Your Hands (Together) off of the latest New Pornographers album, which also caught me off guard with it’s overt guitar riff basis.

The frenetically paced  Empty Room sounds as though the strings and drums are in a race to the finish.
Subtler, more stripped down songs such as Wasted Hours and Sprawl are welcome breaks in the album, letting things breath a little.

I love the Spoon-esque percussive piano on We Used to Wait.

Unfortunately I will be forced to remove Rococo from my iPhone.  I know it is the name of the song, but please stop saying Rococo.  Forever.

    Head on over the The Arcade Fire website or Merge Records as they are offering up a digital version of the album with all sorts of coolness embedded inside.  I love to see this sort of creativity taking the music industry into the future.

    All in all The Suburbs give you all the greatness you expect from an Arcade Fire album and adds in enough variation to keep things fresh and interesting.  I expect this album will still be at the front of my playlist a year from now and I will still be discovering new layers.