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Bright Ideas

PortastaticAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Price: $13.44 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 10 Songs, 2005 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2005 $13.44  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Bright Ideas 5:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Through With People 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. White Wave 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. I Wanna Know Girls 4:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Little Fern 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Truckstop Cassettes 4:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. The Soft Rewind 3:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Registered Ghost 4:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Center of the World 4:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Full of Stars 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 

Amazon's Portastatic Store


Image of album by Portastatic


Image of Portastatic


Artist Video


By Tom Scharpling (written for the release of the 2006 album Be Still Please)

Why? Because in the bio for BRIGHT IDEAS, Portastatic's amazing 2005 full-length, my name was mis-spelled. Here's the offending passage:

"Portastatic first achieved delicacy in 1992, when Tom Sharpling, proprietor of the fanzine 18 Wheeler, persuaded ... Read more in Amazon's Portastatic Store

Visit Amazon's Portastatic Store
for 18 albums, 4 photos, videos, and 2 full streaming songs.

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Bright Ideas + I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle + Nature of Sap
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 23, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B000A2H862
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,936 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Their first full-on studio recording brims with confidence and verve. It's a rollicking, tuneful guitar-rock record made for driving fast with the windows down. Stripped down to the guitar, bass and drums essentials (with occasional violins and keyboards), these songs soar and harken back to a time when records had two sides, good songs were on the radio, and the word "album" meant something. More Badfinger than Buzzcocks, Bright Ideas captures the more rocking side of Portastatic that has emerged in live shows since the release of 2003's Summer Of The Shark. Merge. 2005.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Portastatic is the new project by ex-Superchunk member Mac MacCaughan. Though I haven't heard any other Portastatic albums and although this is their seventh (wow) studio album, I think I can be knowledgable in saying that this is a great good album. The album starts off well with several great tunes like the title track "Bright Ideas", "Through With People" and "I Wanna Know Girls". The rest of the album isn't as easy to get into, but they'll definitely grow on you. It's kind of cheesy at times, but not so much so that it'll turn you off. The singing is similar to Superchunk although Mac seems like he's whispering with a raspy voice most of the time. Lyrically the songs are pretty memorable if not eventually forgettable. They're relatively simple and easy to sing along with. The production is very good as well as the musicianship. I'm giving this "5" stars because every track here is very good, and the first three songs are great. Not everyone will like it but I think Superchunk and indie/pop rock fans will really enjoy it Highly recommended!

Highlights include:

"Bright Ideas"

"Through With People"

"I Wanna Know Girls"

"Truckstop Cassettes"

everything else is slightly less than good (so still worthy of listens)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The gray area between Superchunk and Portastatic October 30, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Portastatic has always been an interesting side project, prolifically releasing albums and EPs full of 4-tracked bedroom recordings, experimental gems, oddball covers and quirky production explorations. The last few years has seen Mac's "band" picking up steam, offering consistently more streamlined CDs like 2003's rewarding "Summer of the Shark" and the "De Mel, De Melao" EP of tropicalia covers.

Portastatic has become a bonafide band while Superchunk takes a break (bassist Laura Ballance is a mom now!), with 'Chunk guitarist Jim Wilbur assuming bass duties and Mac's brother Matt ensconced in the drum seat. The result is that -- predictably -- they sound like a band rather than a collection of lovingly self-produced songs.

"Bright Ideas" flows with a bigger sound and groove from start to finish, with the possible exception of the title track which references Mac's recent lo-fi history. There's even a little -- is that Southern Rock? -- in the arrangements and solos, allowing Mr. McCaughan to exercise his Badfinger, Springsteen, and Dylan ghosts. The songs are a little more expansive musically, but every bit as tightly written as we've come to expect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do You Like Your Reese's Superchunky? July 17, 2008
Format:Audio CD
What in the name of Mac McCaughan is going on here? Mac, if you remember had this little band called Superchunk, started Merge records, and oh yeah graduated from Columbia. Does he get your vote for world's most interesting guy? Well mine neither, but at least he is in the top 50.

So now Mac has gone all Portastatic on us and you just may wonder what the outcome is? Well, it's kind of the land of 'tween. Not 'tween like music appealing to the 'tween'ers, but this land in between rock, pop, and indie. The music is appealing, and whereas before Portastatic was just McClaughlan's research and development songwriting outlet to Superchunk, now its his main vehicle -- a real band this go-around.

From the super poppy, kind of 80's Alarm come The BoDeans vibe there is the extra catchy and slightly chunky tune, "I wanna know girls." Mac sings, "I wanna know girls who want to know men / I'm already stuck inside the head of one of them / I'm so loosely defined / I wanna draw your outline / On a fresh yard of snow / The burning leaf held by the stem." Oh, and its a little on the poetic side. Evidently Mac loves girls and has one in particular he considers his one true honey. A song dedicated to the practice of monogamy but the ongoing internal monologue of a hold-out serial lady socializer. I'm still searching for the downside in this song as it is very listenable.

The CD's title track, "Bright Idea," is all Beck low-key smooth groove sorta World Party-ish come Smash Mouth poppy. Mac's voice is a little more dusky and the beat cool saunters along until you are caught up in a permanent head bob. Make sure you aren't driving in heavy traffic when listening to this for the first few listens 'till you get used to the head nodding mind you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love it September 9, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Portastatic was one of the big acts at the recent Noise Pop festival in San Francisco. There was a lot of exciting surrounding his performance. I saw Superchunk in San Francisco back in 1992 at the height of their popularity. They were the hot band to check out back then, like The Arcade Fire is now. Mac McCaughan has been very productive all these years. I put this album on with an open mind. I felt like the songwriting was very distinct and unique. All the songs were very up. This album does have a lot of good qualities of 1980s indie rock. There are attributes of songs like "I Wanna Know Girls" that just seem great. It's not overkill. This is one of those albums that will be in the background but people will remember at the end of the year. Some people who have been around for a while should be making music like this. Maybe he is not the best looking guy, but the music is fit.
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