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Bright Ideas

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iTunes Review

Over the past 15 years Portastatic singer/songwriter/guitarist Mac McCaughan has been (relatively) quietly producing a large body of high-quality, adventurous work as a solo artist and as part of semi-defunct Superchunk. On Bright Ideas he delivers another inventive album that never lets up. The flat-out brilliant songs (“I Wanna Know Girls,” “Truckstop Cassettes”) are surrounded by a mix of good ones, as McCaughan delivers one solid tune after another, each with its own charms. There’s high-energy, hyper-melodic power pop galore (“Through With People,” “White Wave,” “Little Fern,” “The Soft Rewind”) alongside tender and tuneful ballads (“Full of Stars”). The structure of McCaughan’s songs and attention to detail is stunning; jangly guitar chords are heightened by inspired use of keyboards and violin. Hooks and memorable choruses abound, with lyrics clever, fun and insightful. To pick just one of many memorable lines: “I wanna know girls/don’t wanna know men/I’m already stuck inside the head of one of them.” If you’re already a fan, you’ll love this. If you’re as yet unfamiliar, this is a great place to start.

Customer Reviews

Most Accessable Portastatic Record To Date

If Portastatic were Guided By Voices, than "Bright Ideas" would be their "Do The Collapse". For the first time since its inception, Mac McCaughan has brought his once considered side project to a proper studio with a touring line-up of musicians. The end result is a very accessible recording of powerful pop induced rock not too distant from the later recordings of Mac's other band Superchunk. The chemistry of the band is fully realized in their live sets, which are pleasantly rocking & inspired. If your a fan of rocking indie pop, this album will not disappoint. The only flaw I find on this album is the track listing of the title track as track one. It doesn't set the album off properly for me. I usually start at "Trough With People" and end with "Bright Ideas". I guess that's the beauty of iTunes though.

My favorite record this year

Mac McCaughn is my Oprah

Pretty Good

I am a fan.


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
Bright Ideas, Portastatic
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Customer Ratings

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