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The urgency of current events after the demoralizing 2016 election gave Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon of Superchunk the momentum to make something new sooner 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.” Enter What a Time to Be Alive, Superchunk’s first album in over four years. 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.”
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, What a Time to Be Alive 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 has 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.
TORRES is the creative alter-ego of Brooklyn-based Mackenzie Scott. In describing the new album Three Futures, Scott says it “is entirely about using the body that each of us has been given as a mechanism of joy”. The 10 original tracks on Three Futures embrace ecstasy, desire and indulgence rather than self-denial, and exude this idea via immersive music. Mechanized grooves are placed at the forefront, providing a framework for perforated electro-pop static, harsh gothic / industrial textures, and insistent Krautrock motifs.
For Three Futures, Scott reconnected with producer Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey), who worked on TORRES’ last album Sprinter, to record in Stockport and Dorset, England. David Tolomei (Beach House, Future Islands) mixed the album.
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