• Sweater weather or "sever" weather?

    Deb Hanley, left, and Frank McGuire dig about three feet of snow from around their car outside their home in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. The Boston area received about two feet of snow from a winter storm. 
    Deb Hanley, left, and Frank McGuire dig about three feet of snow from around their car outside their home in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. The Boston area received about two feet of snow from a winter storm. 

    School gets delayed for the fourth time this semester due to inclement weather as temperature falls below freezing again. For all the Texans terrified of anything under 40, here are nine ways to beat Austin’s very own polar vortex.

    9. Make s’mores over your stove. 
    If you don’t have a stove, a trashcan fire should do nicely.

    8. Stand directly under the heating vent.
    Don’t share your spot with anyone else. That warm air is for you and you alone.

    7. Take all of the unfinished work you have and bury yourself in it.
    All those papers should provide some insulation.

    6. Stay on your laptop for hours until the burn on your legs keeps the rest of you warm.
    What true love feels like: someone who is always there for you to keep you warm.

    5. Take the Pluckers challenge and the pure burn will take your mind off of the cold.
    The Wall of Fame is worth it.

    4. Burn an effigy of Punxsutawney Phil.
    Because that shadow-seeing rodent cursed us with 6 more weeks of winter. 

    3. Go thrift shopping at Buffalo Exchange and pick yourself up a sweet fur coat. 
    #ButItWas99Cents #PopSomeTags

    2. Fit as many people as you can into one Car 2 Go so that there is zero room for cold air to get in.
    Alternatively, crowd all your friends in the same flannel shirt and it’ll be fuzzy and wonderful.

    1. And always the classic: Netflix and a blanket. 
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  • Superchunk makes its first stop in Austin since 2012

    From Pavement to Neutral Milk Hotel, there have been plenty of ‘90s indie rock bands cashing in on their respective legacies by touring behind their original material without releasing anything new. For a while throughout the 2000s, Superchunk was worried about falling into that trap. After a nine-year break between albums, Superchunk returned in 2010 with Majesty Shredding and recently followed it up with last year’s I Hate Music. Guitarist Jim Wilbur, who has been a member of the band since 1990, indicated that a sense of restlessness helped inspire the return to recording new material.

    “We were playing more shows and didn’t want to play the same songs over and over,” Wilbur said. “We didn’t want to be a nostalgia act. It’s still fun to play ‘Slack Motherfucker’ but after a thousand times it’s not the same.”

    Making that decision has played out well for the band, as I Hate Music ended up on year end Top 50 lists for websites like Spin and Stereogum. According to Wilbur, the fan response to new songs on this tour has been overwhelmingly positive. 

    “(Fans) are singing along to these new songs and I don’t remember that happening in the ‘90s,” Wilbur said.  “I don’t know what the reason is.”

    The band still plays fan favorites on tour, and Wilbur explained that he is at times surprised at which songs ended up resonating with fans. Songs like “Detroit Has A Skyline” and “Martinis On The Roof” are two of the most requested, even though the band always thought the former didn’t sound as well live as on the record.

    “For a long time we thought it was hard to pull off live because it was so fast and hard to give it clarity,” Wilbur said. 

    They have been touring to promote the new record since last August, and are stopping in Texas for the first time since 2012’s Fun Fun Fun Fest. Fans may notice a change in the lineup, as founding member and bassist Laura Ballance has stopped touring with the band for the foreseeable future. Ballance developed a serious hearing condition called hyperacusis that makes it extremely difficult for people to cope with normal levels of noise without experiencing intense pain. Ballance posted made the decision to stop touring with the band last May, and bassist Jason Narducy, who previously spent time playing with musicians like Bob Mould, has been playing live with the band ever since. Wilbur said that Narducy has fit in well into the dynamics of the band and has done a good job at learning the band’s extensive catalog quickly. Wilbur insisted that the band’s fans have been supportive of the situation.

    When asked about plans to follow up I Hate Music, Wilbur explained that the band has not laid out any concrete plans, but are open to the idea of recording another album. According to him, they never really planned anything more than a few months out when they were active in the ‘90s. For now, they prefer to focus on one thing a time, which is currently the tour.

    “I would definitely want to make another record, but it might be that it’s not feasible because of other people’s commitments and priorities,” Wilbur said.

    Currently, Wilbur claimed that they plan to at least remain as a touring entity for as long as there is a demand to see them live. Part of this is because Wilbur believes that the Internet has made it easier to survive as a band in 2014 than in the ‘90s. He explained that with record labels tanking, he sees more bands following in the model of Superchunk by using online media and word-of-mouth as their main promotional tools. Therefore, Superchunk doesn’t plan on calling it quits anytime soon. 

    “As long as there’s an audience, I think we would show up,” Wilbur said. “Our booking agent used to say that it’s much harder to book a new band on the way up than it is to book an older band on the way down.”