Mac McCaughan became an indie rock hero while fronting Superchunk and by founding and managing the successful Merge Records -- Portastatic was the outlet for his solo recordings and songs that didn't quite fit his day job band. The side project began in 1992 when Tom Scharpling of 18 Wheeler Records asked McCaughan to release some of his lo-fi four-track recordings; he obliged with the singles "Sandals with White Socks" and "Starter." Then in 1994 McCaughan released an entire Portastatic album, I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle, followed by the Scrapbook EP and more albums, 1995's Slow Note from a Sinking Ship and 1997's The Nature of Sap, which progressively became less lo-fi in nature. Released in 2000, the De Mel, de Melão EP paid homage to classic Brazilian artists like Caetano Veloso and Arnaldo Baptista. In 2001 McCaughan returned with Looking for Leonard, the score to a film written and directed by Superchunk fans Matt Bissonette and Steven Clark.