Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn't open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music from The Summer of the Shark by Portastatic, download iTunes now.

Already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC

The Summer of the Shark

Open iTunes to preview, buy, and download music.

Album Review

When it was released in the spring of 2003, The Summer of the Shark marked Portastatic's first full-bore full-length studio endeavor in about five years, although a couple of EPs and a soundtrack had appeared in the interim. Mac McCaughan is still pretty synonymous with the "band" that is Portastatic, writing all the songs, handling the lead vocals, and playing many of the musical parts, with help from about half a dozen friends. It's accomplished, varied, and rather easygoing, though not gripping, indie pop/rock, with the sort of combination of the whimsical and the relatively conventional pop structures that characterizes so much Chapel Hill indie rock of the 1990s and 2000s. It's often hard to suss the worldview of a songwriter who comes up with lines like "we sit around with alligator clips on our eyes and it's a right spectacular view." But currents of mild disorientation, miscommunication, and vague dissatisfaction with urban stress surface, as do some mildly experimental electronic textures in the ominous instrumental "Through a Rainy Lens." The more accessible, straightforward guitar tunes, like "Chesapeake," are actually less interesting than the tracks in which the song strives for something more oddball, like "Swimming Through Tires," with its elementary piano chords anchoring mournful brass and unclassifiable clangs. In a poppier mode, "Hey Salty" is a highlight, giving McCaughan's high thin voice and cheerful romantic melodic bent a chance to shine at their brightest.

Customer Reviews

Great album. Great band.

This CD is absolutely incredible. From start to finish it is full of great songs with great lyrics ("we sit around with alligator clips on our eyes!" How can you not love that?!). I will concede that track #3, Windy Village, feels a bit out of place in the greater scheme of album cohesiveness, but If you go through the whole CD enough times you do realize it plays a peculiar, but necessary, part. My personal favorites include tracks #1, 2, 8, 9, and 12. It was released in April, and frankly I think it works best as a summer CD. Listen to it when the weather is hot and the sun is shining on a lazy afternoon. You'll be pleased you did.


Formed: 1992 in United States

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Mac McCaughan became an indie rock hero while fronting Superchunk and by founding and managing the successful Merge Records -- Portastatic was the outlet for his solo recordings and songs that didn't quite fit his day job band. The side project began in 1992 when Tom Scharpling of 18 Wheeler Records asked McCaughan to release some of his lo-fi four-track recordings; he obliged with the singles "Sandals with White Socks" and "Starter." Then in 1994 McCaughan released an entire Portastatic album, I...
Full Bio
The Summer of the Shark, Portastatic
View in iTunes

Customer Ratings

Influenced by This Artist