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Misfits & Mistakes: Singles, B-sides & Strays 2007–2023 is Superchunk’s fourth singles compilation, a massive, 4-LP (or 2-CD) collection covering their triumphant return from hiatus. The amount of ground covered within its gorgeous packaging is staggering: 50 songs, 16 of which are on physical media for the first time, sourced from out-of-print releases, digital singles, compilations, and more, a vital piece of the Superchunk canon.
Featuring extensive liner notes by Mac McCaughan (with additional notes from Laura Ballance), Misfits & Mistakes tells the story of each release, from why they chose to cover songs by The Misfits, The Cure, Destiny’s Child, and Bananarama, to working with collaborators like Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s), Eleanor Friedberger, Damian Abraham (Fucked Up), Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley (Teenage Fanclub), and more!
Who knew it would take a cartoon hamburger to kick off a new period of activity for Superchunk? When we recorded “Misfits and Mistakes” for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force soundtrack at Overdub Lane in Durham, we also recorded the first version of “Learned to Surf” which gave us an on-ramp for making new music after 8 years of playing sporadic gigs. It also reminded us what we liked about playing Superchunk songs, whether they’re our own or written by our musical heroes. This collection covers a lot of ground, from heavy touring years to a pandemic where we made singles and an album at home.
One difference between this comp and our first three is that this time span completely falls in the digital age; the distance from a final mix to everyone hearing it is shorter than ever. I’ve always liked artists that were prolific—throwing out singles in between albums when you least expect it. A surprise release from your favorite band is one of the few things that can still bring a little excitement to what can seem like an endless deluge of “content” (puke).
Hopefully the wild swings between lo & hi fi and originals and covers on this comp still allow for some coherence and, more importantly, convey what’s FUN about this punk rock thing.