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***REISSUED ON VINYL!!! PORTASTATIC’s The Summer of the Shark is available for the first time on vinyl as part of a monthly series of reissues to mark the 25th anniversary of Merge Records. MAC MCCAUGHAN of Merge and SUPERCHUNK, began recording solo albums under the name Portastatic in the early ‘90s. Beginning with this album, Portastatic evolved from a lo-fi side project to become McCaughan’s main focus throughout Superchunk’s long hiatus in the early ’00s. McCaughan wrote the songs on The Summer of the Shark in 2001 while Superchunk was on tour in support of Here’s to Shutting Up, which was released mere days after the September 11 attacks and would be the band’s last studio album for nine years. The resulting batch of songs was the last Portastatic album recorded almost entirely at home; it was also the most emotionally resonant, and musically compact collection to date. Upon the album’s release, then Chicago Tribune reporter John Cook wrote of the album: “It is the most effective and moving musical answer yet to what has happened to us over the last two years. Faced with an enormous catastrophe, McCaughan elected to make a small record. There are no heroes rushing up stairwells and no dissections of good and evil—only scared, confused people and local heartbreaks.” Recorded at McCaughan’s home studio in Chapel Hill, The Summer of the Shark included contributions from JANET WEISS (WILD FLAG, QUASI, SLEATER-KINNEY), TONY CROW (LAMBCHOP), MARGARET WHITE (VERSUS, MATT POND PA), MATTHEW MCCAUGHAN (BON IVER, HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER), AARON OLIVIA, and JOHN PJYMALE. Pressed on white vinyl with download. 7.8 rating from Pitchfork in 2003. (STREET DATE - 11/04/2014)