First Listen: Mac McCaughan, 'Non-Believers'

April 27, 2015 3:03 AM

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Indie rock was conceived to be nondescript, but few indie legends come as dressed down as Mac McCaughan. For 25 years, the Superchunk frontman and Merge Records co-founder has quietly made some of the loudest pop in history, meanwhile keeping his profile inversely proportional to his influence on the indie world at large. This is the man, after all, who gave Kurt Cobain a run for his money in the early '90s when it came to blisteringly distorted, Gen-X anthems — despite being nowhere near as popular — and who gave Arcade Fire its momentous start on Merge a decade later. He's also released numerous solo albums under the name Portastatic, a move that gave him another outlet as a prolific singer-songwriter while keeping his name off the marquee.

It's curious, then, that McCaughan's first solo album under his own name, Non-Believers, arrives so long into his career — and that it's such a departure from both the amped-up power-pop of Superchunk and the stripped-down songcraft of Portastatic, whose releases have wound up sounding increasingly ...

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