Song of the Day: Mac McCaughan – Lost Again

photo by Brittany Brassell

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Lost Again” by Mac McCaughan from the 2015 album Non-Believers on Merge Records.

Mac McCaughan – Lost Again (MP3)

After serving as the primary songwriter of Superchunk for more than 25 years and releasing solo material as Portastatic for nearly as long, returning to the era of his musical origins led Mac McCaughan to release a solo album under his own name. In 2015, McCaughan is an independent rock icon, revered both for his steadily great output in Superchunk and as the co-founder of Merge Records. In the early 1980s, however, McCaughan was a teenager still finding himself in music, and that era of his life serves as the main inspiration behind Non-Believers, the first album released under McCaughan’s name in the entirety of his career. Built primarily around synthesizers and drum machines, a first for any of McCaughan’s projects, Non-Believers is the North Carolina songwriter’s second highly introspective album in a row (the first being Superchunk’s 2012 release I Hate Music.) Where that album was loud and expansive with its reflections on mortality, Non-Believers is glistening and fairly quiet for a McCaughan release. “Lost Again”, one of the album’s highlights, captures the youthful, late-night frustration that kept McCaughan up for many a night with sharp detail and plenty of sympathy for his younger self. Gliding at a slow burn pace, McCaughan wraps his voice in warm synths as he laments missed opportunities and broken connections, floating in the echoing production of the track. With as much sentiment as any of his recent (and occasionally best) songs, “Lost Again” shows that even as McCaughan grows older, he’s able to look back on his past without becoming nostalgic or jaded and still tap into the pathos that drove some of his best songs.

Mac McCaughan and the Non Believers (the band Flesh Wounds repurposed as both his opener and backing band) will be coming to the West Coast later this year, stopping in Seattle on September 14 at the Tractor Tavern. Get tickets for that 21+ show here, keep up with Mac on Twitter, and watch Superchunk run through their 1991 classic “Skip Steps 1 & 3″ at Bumbershoot 2013:

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