Saturday, July 5, 2008

Life Before Superchunk - Part 2: Wwax - Like it or Not 2x7" (1990, Merge, rec 1987-88) & Pumpkin 7" (1991, Meat/1989 Lepoard Gecko)

Welcome to module two of Life Before Superchunk, and in depth excavation regarding the various musical projects of one Mac McCaughan, prior to fronting the Chunk. As I mentioned in the first installment Mac multi-tasked two gnarly bands in the late '80s, the Slushpuppies, and Wwax, the latter of which will be discussed here. Presumably the extra "W" in Wwax was to differentiate themselves from another outfit(s) dubbed "Wax." Unlike the previously explored Slushpuppies, Mac shared the mic with his other two Wwax co-conspirators, drummer Brian Walsby, and bassist Wayne Taylor. An interview with Brian can be read here, and a brief write-up on Wwax can be procured at this location.

While the Slushpuppies sounded like natural precursors to Superchunk, Wwax were a slightly different kettle of fish. Despite the melody quotient suffering considerably, coupled with tone-deaf vocals by all three gents involved, Wwax somehow sounded more musically adept then the 'Puppies were. The double 7" ep, Like it or Not, is really only appreciable to connoisseurs of Superchunk and Mac's former satellite bands. Nevertheless it's a valuable artifact for the die-hard, and what could be more timely then the sixth track in, "Price of Gas?" Recorded during the era of .89 cent unleaded fuel, I'd say Mac and Co. had very little to gripe about in retrospect, and I'm sure the band would be in complete agreement. Like it Or Not is supplemented with a four-page mini comic, which I have scanned in to be perused at your leisure. "Counting Thoughts" would later appear on the Merge Records fifth anniversary compilation, Rows of Teeth.

The much briefer single on Leopard Gecko (reissued on Meat Records in 1991) is more admirable, especially the a-side, "Pumpkin" which posses a comparatively devastating hook in contrast to the amelodic, jammier tendencies of the Like it or Not ep. "Inn Town" doesn't fare quite as well, but still thoroughly Representative of Wwax.

As some of you are aware, both the Slushpuppies and Wwax are included in the Evil I Do Not 7" box-set on Palindrome Productions, that was issued contemporary to these singles. If you completists have your nighties in a knot, I plan to upload Evil... in it's entirety before I close out this series, so don't sweat it.

Like It Or Not 2x7"
01. Seven
02. Like it or Not
03. Straw Man
04. Corduroy
05. Grows on Trees
06. Price of Gas
07. Counting Thoughts

Leopard Gecko 7"
A. Pumpkin
B. Inn Town

Update: All of this and more has been reissued online through Merge Records!

3 comments:

bone said...

besides these 2 things and the 7" you mention from Evil I Do Not 5x7" box there is a tape as well which overlaps with the 2x7" but has some more stuff too (or I am just remembering this wrong?)

Mogwaione said...

Could you post the comic and cover scans again please? Already bought the files from Merge.

Mogwaione said...
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