Published Mar 12, 2009Once again, the good folks of Merge are rolling out some birthday treats as part of the label's 20th anniversary celebrations. This time it's a reissued collection of tracks from Mac McCaughan's rarely mentioned and rarely heard pre-Superchunk band, Wwax, who are now getting their very first digital release.
Dubbed Like It Or Not, the digital-only comp gathers up 15 long out-of-print tracks from the now-defunct late '80s outfit, which was made up of McCaughan, Brian Walsby and Wayne Taylor. The record is already available to purchase at the Merge store and can also be streamed over here.
In the words of McCaughan, this is what this Wwax release is all about:
This is a collection of all the studio recordings that Wwax made, all done at Duck Kee Studios on Bickett Blvd in Raleigh in 1987 and 1988. Tracks one and two were released by our friend Steve Skrzyniarz on his label Leopard Gecko out in Tacoma. The next seven tracks came out on Merge in a double seven-inch format. The Songs "All Begins Again," "Just Like" and "Misinvite" were originally released as part of the seven-inch box set Evil I Do Not To Nod I Live, a collection that also included records by Egg, Slushpuppies, Black Girls, and Angels of Epistemology. The last two tracks were on a Wwax cassette that was Merge's second release ever. They include a Saccharine Trust cover we did live, plus the demo of the song "Seven" that we recorded at my house and that I always preferred to the better-sounding studio version.
We took turns singing the songs in Wwax, but they all bear the mark of Wayne's idiosyncratic sense of timing and Brian Walsby's uncanny ability to keep up with him. The sound is also shaped by the fiberglass Ovation Breadwinner guitar that I borrowed from Wayne and played exclusively through his tiny gray spray-painted Peavey Champ, which achieved a brittleness I've not been able to capture since! This is the first digital release of Wwax songs other than a couple stray tracks here and there, and it's strange to hear recordings that are certainly artifacts of a certain era that's not hardcore but not really something else specific either... which is how they sounded then, too.
According to the label, Like It Or Not is the first of many Merge classics set to get digitally reissued this year, with upcoming releases to be announced shortly. As previously reported, the Wwax comp follows in an increasingly long list of upcoming Merge anniversary celebrations, which you can read all about here, here and here.
Here is the tracklisting to Like It Or Not:
2. "Inn Town"
4. "Like It Or Not"
5. "Straw Man"
7. "Grows on Trees"
8. "Price of Gas"
9. "Counting Thoughts"
11. "All Begins Again"
12. "Just Like"
14. "I Am Right (live)"
15. "Seven (demo)"