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Portastatic, ‘Be Still Please’ (Merge)

With his eighth album as Portastatic, Mac McCaughan still has his feet on the ground — befitting what began as a subdued side project to his now-shuttered main band Superchunk. But these days he’s also reaching upward, using a string section to back the soaring melodies of “Sour Shores” and “Black Buttons.” Death imagery is everywhere, and on the bracing “You Blanks,” he openly wrestles with his regrets: “All my songs use to end the same way/’Everything’s going to be okay’/You fuckers make that impossible to say.”

Now Hear This:Portastatic – “Sour Shores” DOWNLOAD MP3