Superchunk and Sebadoh

I Hate Music, and Defend Yourself (Merge)

Phases and Stages


I Hate Music (Merge)


Defend Yourself (Joyful Noise)

Is this what The Big Chill sounds like for Gen X's college radio subset? Despite a title that reads like perfunctory cynicism, Superchunk's 10th studio LP delivers a perfect strike at the heart of mature-stage alienation. Against the backdrop of a virulent fuzz-pop riff, Mac McCaughan kicks off "Me & You & Jackie Mittoo" by singing, "I hate music/What is it worth/Can't bring anyone back to this Earth." With Ray Davies precision, he sums up these melancholy times as assuredly as a besotted pub sage. Same with "Staying Home," a hardcore-infused broadside against going out, clocking in at just over a minute. From the befuddled realization that springing back from a bender isn't eternal ("Out of the Sun") to uneasy resignation of loss ("What Can We Do"), I Hate Music feels instantly familiar and compelling. Only the former's true of Sebadoh's Defend Yourself. Grounded in the fertile terrain of terminal relationships, the warm, unadorned album comes undone by undercooked songwriting. "Oxygen" is a spry pop driver recalling the Smiths, while shambling post-punk rave-up "Inquiries" also arrives moderately intriguing. Compared to Lou Barlow's previous work, however, little here rises above the level of afterthought.

(Superchunk) ***.5

(Sebadoh) **

More Superchunk
Phases & Stages
Majesty Shredding (Record Review)

Audra Schroeder, Oct. 29, 2010

More Sebadoh
Bakesale: Deluxe Edition (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, July 29, 2011

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Clear Language (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 20, 2017

Texas Platters
ST 37
Fuck You, You Rule: ST 37's Greatest "Hits" (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, Oct. 20, 2017

More by Greg Beets
Sunday ACL Fest Interview: Tank & the Bangas
Sunday ACL Fest Interview: Tank & the Bangas
Poetry fuels the lyrics of New Orleans band

Oct. 6, 2017

Texas Platters
Jean Caffeine
Sadie Saturday Nite (Record Review)

Sept. 1, 2017


Superchunk, Sebadoh

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)