Were it not to be a year where The Hold Steady were touring, Mac and the Team Chunk might very well be on my shit list. Their only shows this year were for the Obama campaign and announced on short notice. It was obviously more of an issue for our Southern friends, but while I would have gone were I not to need a new couch, I was kind if bummed at the cross-pollenation of the two. When rock bands transcend humanist politics for Party ones, it's kind of a kill-joy, but then again the Chunk members are better people than me.
This cause is more up my alley, but I still wish they didn't have to throw their support behind it. Cy Rawls was a friend of the Merge and Superchunk camps, as well as a DJ on local terrestrial broadcasting force WXYC. He was unexpectedly diagnosed with a brain tumor over the summer and has since succumbed to cancer this past October 3rd, but his friends that rallied to raise funds for his treatment (he had no health insurance) have established CyTunes to memorialize their friend. All profits are donated to North Carolina's Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke.
Since the inception of CyTunes, a number of bands have donated music for the cause, including Shinola, Double Negative and the mighty Superchunk. The Superchunk contribution is a live recording from the venerable Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC. It commorates a benefit show they played for Cy where you could make a donation and request whatever Chunk song you'd like to hear. As a result, there are some dips into the back catalog that are more than a little unexpected. No new material, although I'd have ponied up hard for even a bad recording of "Learn To Surf". The show is as warts and all as you might suspect, with ample time for tuning breaks and generous time for Jim to be a smart-ass. It's also pretty damn good, especially in this time where Superchunk seems to be garaged for the time-being. Here's hoping Mac and Laura take some time off from politicking and procreating to get some new Sweet Chunky Goodness for our respective earholes.
I'd say the high point of Superchunk: Live From The Cat's Cradle is the live version of Home At Dawn, but there are 17 other tracks to tickle your fancy. There's even a version of Day The Sharks Flew featuring Kevin and Jennifer from Erectus Monotone for all you old-school Triangle kids and Merge estoterica aficianados. Misfits and Mistakes from The Aqua Teen Hunger Soundtrack appears, as well, (sans Meatwad lead vocals). You can buy tracks individually, or pick up the whole kit and caboodle for $13 cheap. Do that here. It's not a tax deduction, but if you want, you can donate in that regard, too. You could do a lot worse for less than $20. Check out CyTunes here and do some shopping.
There is more info on the fundraising effort here. Were you of a mind to keep up on Merge goings-on, you can check in here. The Chunk web presence is here, with info on the new Clambakes disc coming in January, too. Bookmark that shit, yo.