Superchunk, the North Carolina-based rock band at the core of the independent record label Merge, has launched an auction on Paddle8 to raise funds for Planned Parenthood. On offer are a set of limited-edition 7-inch records by the band—a new song titled “I Got Cut” with a cover of Tom Robinson Band’s punk classic “Up Against the Wall” on the B-side—with original cover art by artists Xaviera Simmons, Joyce Pensato, Brian Calvin, and Amy Sillman, among others.
This is in fact not the first 7-inch single released in aid of Planned Parenthood. Earlier this year, a group of music-industry professionals and artists including Björk, St. Vincent, Mary J. Blige, Common, Arca, Nico Muhly, and Laurie Anderson (among many more) banded together to put out unreleased trackson the box set Seven Inches for Planned Parenthood.
As for the Superchunk release, in a statement worth quoting in full, bandmember Mac McCaughan explained the thinking behind the release:
All people should have access to reproductive health care. All people should have control over their own bodies. “I Got Cut” was inspired by images like the photograph of our current president surrounded by a bunch of other ancient white guys, all smiling as they took away access to reproductive health care for women all over the world. The first line in the song, “All these old men won’t die too soon,” is a reference to them and anyone like them attacking women’s health care. On the positive side, the song is also inspired by shows of unity like the Women’s March on Washington in January. It’s about freedom of choice. It’s about healing psychic and physical wounds and staying free. It’s about getting out of the way to make room for people younger and more enlightened than ourselves.
Though it was originally written and recorded by the Tom Robinson Band in 1978, the B-side “Up Against the Wall” is an appropriate song for these times. Jon suggested covering this great song years ago and we never got around to it, but it made perfect sense to do so now. Tom Robinson himself was kind enough to waive his publishing royalties in order to better serve the fundraising cause of the single.
I felt like making a record in the punk rock tradition we grew up with, including the collage I created for the sleeve. Likewise, when we presented the concept to the artists involved, we proposed that the art be the size of an unfolded 7-inch sleeve, mirroring the style of all the singles we put out when we first started Merge over 25 years ago. As they were in 1989, the sleeves were printed by Barefoot Press in Raleigh (and they donated these to help the cause). We also put these together by hand like we did then.
These 7-inches are more expensive than a regular single because we are raising money for Planned Parenthood, an organization that works tirelessly to provide something that should be a right, not a privilege: health care. It’s easy to get discouraged when suddenly those in charge seem intent on ruining everything that is good about our country. We’re trying to channel the rage we share with you in a productive direction. Thanks for listening.
Bidding in the auction is underway and ends on June 29, with winners of the 24 lots receiving an “exclusive pink swirl vinyl pressing of the 7-inch housed in the standard sleeve, alongside the piece of original artwork.” Starting bids range from $500 to $2,000.