Portastatic Sits 'Still' In October

Portastatic, the long-running side project of Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan, will return on Oct. 10 with its next Merge album, "Be Still Please."

Portastatic, the long-running side project of Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan, will return on Oct. 10 with its next Merge album, "Be Still Please." The set was recorded earlier this year at Durham, N.C.'s Pox Studios, a site chosen so McCaughan could stay close to home while still logging hours at Merge, the label he co-founded in 1989.

"Mostly the songs were written in the nine months prior to going to the studio," McCaughan tells Billboard.com. "I didn't really have time to rehearse a band this time, so I stayed here. I did demos for most of the songs, but in a way it was like old Portastatic records -- me doing everything."

Portastatic's sound has traditionally been rooted in indie guitar pop, but this time around, there's more of a rootsy element, thanks to guest appearances from Peter Holsapple, Laura Cantrell and Annie Hayden.

"Laura and Annie are two of my favorite artists. Laura and I have known each other for years. We were in a band together called Bricks a long time ago and used to sing together as a duo around New York. And Peter, I was a huge db's fan. I still can't believe he played on my record" McCaughan says.

This is Portastatic's second album of 2006, following the June release soundtrack for the forthcoming independent film, "Who Loves the Sun." In addition, Superchunk is slowly working on its first new album since 2001's "Here's to Shutting Up."

"We have a few new songs," says McCaughan. "It's just hard to find the time to write enough songs for a record. But we still have a good time doing it."

Portastatic will be on tour in September and October, sharing stages with Merge labelmates Lambchop and M. Ward as well as recent Matador signee Jennifer O'Connor.