Rating: 7.5 fresh limes out of 10
Portastatic seemed like it was already basically the solo act of Superchunk's Mac McCaughan, a place for him to record and release his poppier songs. Apparently for reasons I'm not aware of and too lazy to try and look up, he needed to distance himself from that outlet as well, releasing his first ever solo record "Non-Believers" under his own name. Not that I'm complaining obviously - I'm a huge fan of everything the man puts to tape, and this album is no different. Except for some guest appearances by label-mates Michael Benjamin Lerner (Telekinesis), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak), and Annie Hayden Spent), everything on this album was written and recorded by Mac himself. Despite the name change, this feels and sounds A LOT like a Portastatic record, not that there's anything wrong with that - I'm certainly digging it, one of my favorite records of the year.
A possible side note - these songs take on a much more rockin' vibe live, as Mac has recruited the punk band Flesh Wounds to be his backing musicians when playing gigs most of the time. It's definitely worth seeing them perform and gives the songs a whole new life - it wouldn't be terrible idea for Merge to record the Flesh Wound versions of these tracks and release them as well...it would almost be like an entirely new Mac McCaughan record.