Portastatic Some Small History

Deliberately spotty yet unconsciously great, Some Small History is an overwhelming collection of obscure and unreleased Portastatic songs that benefits from relatively random sequencing. Mac McCaughan fans are a lucky lot because, beyond being a tremendously gifted and prolific songwriter, their hero’s a diligent archivist interested in giving his rarest songs a second life. His pioneering work in Superchunk has benefited from such collections and, with this double record, the Portastatic vaults have been thoroughly raided. McCaughan’s voice and compositional idiosyncrasies have certainly evolved, and his coinciding transition from four-track tapes to 16-track digital recording has altered his often instantly composed songs’ fidelity. For this reason, McCaughan opted to eschew a chronological track listing for feel instead. The wise choice makes it easier to experience the indie rock trailblazer’s output between 1990 and 2007, which has gone from indescribably scrappy experimentation to clearly articulated pop-craft augmented by folk and world music influences. Bold and thoughtful, Some Small History is a towering document. (Merge)