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Superchunk Sound Surprisingly Upbeat on Punky ‘Everybody Dies’

Superchunk won’t let a little thing like the brittle and cruel nature of human mortality get in the way of a good punk song. On their latest single, “Everybody Dies,” frontman Mac McCaughan pays tribute to the many musicians who have passed away in the last decade and how jarring their loss has been. “I was happy in a world of wishful thinking and outright lies,” he sings, “but I’m beginning to think that everybody dies.” The music recalls Superchunk’s pogo-ready, hyper-enough Nineties rockers, paired with some Clash-like “whoaas.”

A seven-inch single, which features a cover of Alastair Galbraith’s “As in a Blender” on the flip side, comes out Jan. 26. The cover sports a painting by McCaughan, who recorded the songs with his bandmates, bassist Laura Ballance and guitarist Jim Wilbur, and their new drummer, Laura King.

“The last years have often felt like an avalanche of loss — starting with Bowie and Prince, really, and then magnified by the pandemic and amplified by social media,” McCaughan said in a statement. “Something that seems different recently is that we aren’t just losing legends from older generations — Pharoah Sanders or Toots Hibbert or Kidd Jordan or Tina Turner — but musicians we think of as peers and friends; people we have toured with and recorded with and shared beers with all over the world. It means of course we’re getting older, and while we know from an early age that yes, everybody dies, it doesn’t make these departures any less shocking.”

McCaughan continued to say that he began “Everybody Dies” playing to a drum pattern that reminded him of Drive Like Jehu, a band whose frontman, Rick Froberg, died last year. “Lucky for everyone, I didn’t try to sing like him on this track,” McCaughan said. “When we were thinking of covers to record for the B-side — dedicated to [the Clean’s] Hamish Kilgour [who died in 2022] in the runout groove — I came in one day and said, ‘What about an Alastair Galbraith song?’ and Jim said, ‘As in a Blender’? Galbraith’s meditation on mortality and the passage of time is somewhat more sanguine than ours and was exactly the one I had been listening to.”

Superchunk will be celebrating the dead, as well as the living, with a short West Coast tour next month with Fucked Up. They’ve also announced a four-day festival that will celebrate the 35th anniversary of their label, Merge Records — which McCaughan and Ballance co-founded — which will take place July 24 – 27. More details are forthcoming, but they intend to begin selling passes on Feb. 9.

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Superchunk tour dates:

Feb. 1 – San Diego, CA @ Music Box
Feb. 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent Theater
Feb. 3 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom (HOMESICK Festival)
Feb. 4 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
Feb. 6 – Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall
Feb. 7 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
Feb. 8 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre

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