Melodic, gorgeously thick guitar hooks reign king throughout much of the 11 tracks

Superchunk
I Hate Music
Merge Records

So many awesome things were happening musically in the late ’80s. Along with the welcome (for many) demise of glam metal came scores of bands delivering new sounds—bands less concerned with their hair and pants and more intent on producing raw and thoughtful music. Whether you called it indie, college, or alternative, the genre gave way to bands like Mudhoney, Nirvana, Pavement, and the Lemonheads, and it was an exciting time to be a consumer of music.

Superchunk may not have been as big a name as some of its contemporaries coming out of the Pacific Northwest at the time, and there’s really nothing grunge-y about their music, but they were a big part of the changes that were happening on the landscape. It’s not easy to name another band able to arrange the level of beautifully hooky, guitar-fueled, power-punk tunes that these North Carolinians have been doing for a quarter century.

The group’s latest, I Hate Music, is more of the same. Melodic, gorgeously thick guitar hooks reign king throughout much of the 11 tracks, while frontman and guitarist Mac McCaughan—whose voice could be called the Geddy Lee of indie rock—wails lyrics that are more about happy than hate. One of the best records I’ve heard to date in 2013.

Must-hear tracks: “Low F” and “FOH”

A chambered body and enhanced switching make this affordable Revstar light and loaded with tones.

Scads of cool tone combinations. Articulate pickups. Relatively light. Balanced and comfortable. Well built.

Some P-90 players might miss the extra grit the Revstar trades for articulation.

Yamaha Revstar Standard RSS02T
usa.yamaha.com

4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5

While the Yamaha name is famous in circles beyond the guitar world, they’ve made first-class guitars since the 1960s. And while they don’t unleash new releases with the frequency of some larger guitar brands, every now and then they come down the mountain with a new axe that reminds us of their capacity to build great electric 6-strings. In 2015, Yamaha introduced the first generation Revstar. With a handsome aesthetic inspired by the company’s motorcycle racing heritage, the Revstar combined sweet playability and vintage style touchstones. This year, Yamaha gave the Revstar an overhaul—including body chambering, updated pickups, and new switching. What’s impressive is how these alterations enhance the already impressive playability and versatility of the original.

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Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein unveils a new line of strings, collaborating with Josh Vittek of Sheptone.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

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