Merge Slowly

Superchunk matures without junking its indie ideals

R: You're getting ready to tour again for the first time in a while; are you ready for that? You're not spring chickens anymore, y'know.

LB: I'm a little nervous. Pretty much we've been home since last November, so it's almost a year. I think I've gotten used to it; I think I've gotten soft. I'm not used to sleeping in hotel rooms anymore, and also sort of a natural thing that seems to come along with touring is you drink and smoke too much. And I have no tolerance anymore. Either I'm gonna have to change my approach or have a few painful weeks and then get back in the swing of it.

R: Okay, let's talk about Merge. Do you worry that Merge's success is too dependent on Superchunk? 'Cause your band is by far the biggest seller on the label, right? What happens if Superchunk breaks up?

LB: Yeaaah. Whewwww, it would be bad. See, I have this plan, though. I figure pretty soon all these bands that established themselves and then got signed to major labels are gonna get dropped soon 'cause they're not gonna be able to sell a million records like they want 'em to sell, and then I'm gonna be there going, hey, come here, come hang out with me!

R: What bands do you have in mind?
LB: Ummmm, I probably shouldn't say 'cause I don't wanna predict anyone getting dropped. I wish the Archers of Loaf were done with their contract so we could work with them, 'cause they're really nice guys. I would love to work with them, and lots of other bands, too.

R: Do you read your own press?
LB: I don't like to. I don't like to read music magazines in general 'cause I think it's kinda boring. The bad thing about that is it sorta puts me out of touch with what's going on. I feel like I'm getting outta the loop, as to what kids are listening to. I think they like dance music these days, not dance music but drums 'n' bass and all that stuff.

R: So is Merge gonna move into the electronica industry?
LB: We already have done one thing that's sorta like that, the Third Eye Foundation. But I'm not really looking to get too far into that. Honestly, I find that its appeal is limited, and I have a hard time really getting that into it. It's like background music. I'd rather listen to something like Beck or Versus, something I can feel the humanity in. I understand that a lot of kids are drawn to that, though, at least I try to understand.

R: If you signed a bunch of electronica bands, you could have a Merge rave night, though.

LB: Yeaaah, wouldn't that be fun.
Superchunk is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, October 7, at Hollywood Alley in Mesa, with the Rock-A-Teens, and Pollen. Showtime is 8 p.m.

The Now Wave
Among the pines and firs of Olympia, Washington, a retro-revolution is taking place. In a town known for its punk bands, riot grrls and political performance artists, there's a small group of bands resurrecting a sound which most people feel is better left dead--New Wave.

Long Hind Legs, Satisfact, and Mocket are all guilty of dry-humping the skull of New Wave and trying to make synths and faux-British accents vogue once more. Of the three, Mocket is both the most interesting and the least pretentious (it's the only band without the wanna-be Cockney vocals). Fronted by Matt Steinke and Audrey Marrs and rounded out by new drummer Carolyn Rue, Mocket churns out sinister, mercurial tunes worthy of Duran Duran on a meth binge (if DD had a female Asian vocalist who sounded like a robot) on its new album Fanfare. You can check out the more human side of Mocket when it plays Stinkweeds in Tempe on Tuesday, October 14; be warned, though--if you show up in leopard print and a skinny tie, I'll kick your ass before the band has a chance. (K Records, P.O. Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507)

Sensitive Kids
Valley youth turned up en masse to see three of their best local bands--Jimmy Eat World, Jerome, and Reuben's Accomplice--play at Hollywood Alley with San Diego emo-pop gods Jejune. Our locals, who all pretty much do the emo-pop thing, too, summarily knocked the packed crowd on its ass; with all the hype over mediocre Valley bands releasing major-label discs and doing TV theme songs, it's nice to have some bands we can actually be proud of.

Jejune just finished a monthlong tour with Mineral and the Get Up Kids, and is more sterling every time it plays here. You can check out the band on its excellent but shittily produced CD Junk and on an upcoming split seven-inch with Jimmy Eat World. It's music for all the sensitive '90s kids, and unlike most bands in the emo genre, Jejune's emotions aren't boy-exclusive--girl bassist/vocalist Araby gives the band an iron-fist-in-velvet-glove feminine punch. (Big Wheel Recreation, 325 Huntington Ave. #24, Boston,

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