Merge Records

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Merge Records
Mergelogosmall.png
Founded1989 (1989)
Founder Laura Ballance
Mac McCaughan
Distributor(s)AMPED Distribution [1] (US)
PIAS (United Kingdom)
Selecta (Latin America)
FAB Distribution (Canada) eOne (North America)
Genre Indie rock, alternative rock
Country of originU.S.
Location Durham, North Carolina
Official website www.mergerecords.com

Merge Records is an independent record label based in Durham, North Carolina. It was founded in 1989 by Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan. It began as a way to release music from their band Superchunk and music created by friends, and has expanded to include artists from around the world, with records reaching the top of the Billboard music charts.

Contents

History

After releasing a number of 7" records and cassettes, the first Merge Records full-length CD release came on April 1, 1992 with MRG020 Superchunk— Tossing Seeds , the band's first collection of singles.

Merge's early successes included Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane over the Sea , The Magnetic Fields's 69 Love Songs , and Spoon's Kill the Moonlight . [2]

The label's first album to reach the USA Billboard 200 was Arcade Fire's Funeral, a 2004 release. [3] Arcade Fire gave the label its then highest-charting release with their follow-up, 2007's Neon Bible , which debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, [4] and, later, reaching #1 with their third album, 2010's The Suburbs . [5] Other Billboard Top Ten releases include Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Transference, along with She & Him's (actress/musician Zooey Deschanel along with M. Ward, a popular Merge folk musician) Volume Two. Other notable Merge releases include Caribou's Polaris Prize-winning Andorra, M. Ward's Hold Time, Camera Obscura's Let's Get Out of This Country , and She & Him's Volume One.

In February 2009, due to adverse market conditions it was announced that Touch and Go Records would no longer manufacture and distribute records for Merge and many other independent record labels; [6] Merge had been "under the Touch and Go umbrella" ever since its 1992 release of Tossing Seeds . [7] Merge quickly reached an agreement with the Alternative Distribution Alliance to continue distribution of its releases. [8]

In September 2009, Algonquin Paperbacks released Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, a book chronicling the label's history. [9] This followed a 6-day music festival in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC, featuring over 40 Merge acts from around the world [10] celebrating the 20th anniversary of the label's first release. The label also released a subscription-only 17-disc box set SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records [11] throughout the 20th anniversary year curated by pop culture tastemakers such as David Byrne, Amy Poehler, Zach Galifianakis, Jonathan Lethem, Peter Buck, David Chang, Mindy Kaling and more, with all proceeds going to charities.

In August 2010, Merge Records released Arcade Fire's The Suburbs to critical acclaim, preceding the band's headlining appearance at Lollapalooza. The album went straight to number one on the U.S. and U.K. charts. Famed director and Monty Python member Terry Gilliam also directed a live online broadcast of the band's concert from the historic Madison Square Garden in New York following the album's release, which was streamed live by an estimated 1.8 million unique viewers. The Suburbs won the Grammy for Album of the Year at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards on February 13, 2011.

Artists

List of artists adapted from Merge Records website. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Superchunk American rock band

Superchunk is an American indie rock band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States, consisting of singer-guitarist Mac McCaughan, guitarist Jim Wilbur, bassist Laura Ballance, and drummer Jon Wurster. Formed in 1989, they were one of the bands that helped define the Chapel Hill music scene of the 1990s. Their energetic, high-velocity style and do-it-yourself ethic are influenced by punk rock.

Neutral Milk Hotel American indie rock band

Neutral Milk Hotel was an American rock band formed in Ruston, Louisiana, by musician Jeff Mangum. The band's music featured a deliberately low-quality sound, influenced by indie rock and psychedelic folk. Mangum was the band's lyricist, and wrote surreal and opaque songs that covered a wide range of topics, including love, spirituality, nostalgia, sex, and loneliness. He and the other band members played a variety of instruments, including nontraditional rock instruments like the singing saw, zanzithophone, and uilleann pipes.

Polvo

Polvo is an American indie rock band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The band formed in 1990 and is fronted by guitarists/vocalists Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski, with Steve Popson playing bass guitar and Brian Quast playing drums. Eddie Watkins was the band's original drummer, but did not rejoin the band upon its reunion in 2008, after breaking up in 1998.

Spoon (band)

Spoon is an American indie rock band from Austin, Texas, formed in 1993. The band is the brainchild of Britt Daniel and Jim Eno (drums) and has seen many lineup changes throughout their history. Alex Fischel and Gerardo Larios are also currently members of the band. Critics have described the band's musical style as indie rock, indie pop, art rock, and experimental rock.

Arcade Fire Indie rock band from Canada

Arcade Fire is a Canadian indie rock band, consisting of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, along with Win's younger brother William Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara. The band's current touring line-up also includes former core member Sarah Neufeld, percussionist Tiwill Duprate and saxophonist Stuart Bogie.

<i>No Pocky for Kitty</i> 1991 studio album by Superchunk

No Pocky for Kitty is the second studio album by American indie rock band Superchunk, released in 1991. Pocky is a popular Japanese snack food.

Laura Ballance

Laura Jane Ballance is the bassist in the rock band Superchunk and co-founder of Merge Records along with Mac McCaughan. In 2013 she announced that she would no longer be touring with the band due to her worsening hyperacusis.

Mac McCaughan

Ralph Lee "Mac" McCaughan is an American musician and record label owner, based in North Carolina. His main musical projects have been Superchunk since 1989 and Portastatic since the early 1990s. In 1989 he founded the independent record label Merge Records with Superchunk bandmate Laura Ballance.

<i>Come Pick Me Up</i> 1999 studio album by Superchunk

Come Pick Me Up is the seventh studio album by American indie rock band Superchunk, released in 1999. It is marked by the presence of co-producer Jim O'Rourke, a well-known figure in underground circles. Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster said that O'Rourke was selected because the band wanted someone "coming from a different head-space." O'Rourke helped the band decorate the album with string and horn touches that were not typical of their guitar-based sound. One of the horn players who appeared on the album is another well-known figure in underground circles, Shellac's Bob Weston.

The following is a list of releases by Merge Records. Merge Records was established in 1989 and released its first album in 1992. By 2012, the label had released more than 450 releases.

Portastatic is an American indie rock band founded in the early 1990s as a solo project of Mac McCaughan, singer and guitarist of the indie rock band Superchunk. The project has since expanded into a full band, sometimes including Superchunk guitarist Jim Wilbur and McCaughan's brother Matthew.

Seam was an American indie rock band from Chicago. Active from 1991 to 2000, it was led by Sooyoung Park, former frontman of Bitch Magnet. Seam's initial line-up included bassist Lexi Mitchell and drummer Mac McCaughan.

<i>Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga</i> 2007 studio album by Spoon

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is the sixth studio album by American rock band Spoon. It was first released on July 7, 2007, through Merge Records and Anti-. It received critical acclaim and appeared on several year-end album lists. The album debuted at number 10 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and at number 1 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums, selling 46,000 copies in its first week. By January 2010, the album had sold 318,000 copies in the United States. It was supported by two singles; "The Underdog" and "Don't You Evah".

<i>Transference</i> (album) 2010 studio album by Spoon

Transference is the seventh studio album by the American indie rock band Spoon. It was released on January 18, 2010 in Europe and on January 19 in North America. In Australia, it was released on January 15 through Spunk Records.

<i>The Suburbs</i> 2010 studio album by Arcade Fire

The Suburbs is the third studio album by Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire, released on August 2, 2010. Coinciding with its announcement, the band released a limited edition 12-inch single containing the title track and "Month of May". The album debuted at No. 1 on the Irish Albums Chart, the UK Albums Chart, the US Billboard 200 chart, and the Canadian Albums Chart. It won Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammy Awards, Best International Album at the 2011 BRIT Awards, Album of the Year at the 2011 Juno Awards, and the 2011 Polaris Music Prize for best Canadian album. Two weeks after winning Grammy's Album of the Year, the album jumped from No. 52 to No. 12 on the Billboard 200, the album's highest ranking since August 2010.

<i>Majesty Shredding</i> 2010 studio album by Superchunk

Majesty Shredding is the ninth studio album by American indie rock band Superchunk. It was released on September 14, 2010 on Merge Records. It is the group's first studio album since 2001's Here's to Shutting Up.

<i>Summer of the Shark</i> (album) 2003 studio album by Portastatic

Summer of the Shark is Portastatic's fourth studio album. It was released on Merge Records on April 8, 2003.

Slack Motherfucker 2021 single by Superchunk

"Slack Motherfucker" is a song by American rock band Superchunk. It was the first single released from the band's debut, self-titled album (1990). The song was penned by vocalist and guitarist Mac McCaughan in reference to an indolent co-worker he had at the time. Credited to all four band members, it was the band's second single and first to be released under the name Superchunk.

Bricks were an indie rock band founded in New York City in the late 1980s. The group was formed by Merge Records co-founder Mac McCaughan while he was studying at Columbia University, along with Nashville-born singer-songwriter Laura Cantrell, plus classmates Andrew Webster and Josh Phillips. The foursome recorded at least 18 lo-fi songs between 1988 and 1990, which they released on a cassette and two 7" singles before disbanding. Their first single, "Girl With The Carrot Skin", enjoyed college radio airplay and was also made into a music video. Shot on super-8 film, the video featured the band eating and playing with copious amounts of carrots.

<i>What a Time to Be Alive</i> (Superchunk album) 2018 studio album by Superchunk

What a Time to Be Alive is the eleventh studio album by the American indie rock band Superchunk. It was released in February 2018 by Merge Records.

References

  1. Grow, Kory (July 26, 2004). "Hart of the Matter". CMJ New Music Report . p. 14.
  2. "Pitchfork e-zine tells indie fans what's hot and not | The Honolulu Advertiser | Hawaii's Newspaper". The Honolulu Advertiser. 2005-05-08. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  3. http://prod1.cmj.com/articles/display_article.php?id=32547263 Archived July 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Arcade Fire And Taylor Swift Sweep In With New No. 1s". Billboard.biz. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  5. "Pitchfork says: Touch and Go Records will stop releasing new music. | WKNC 88.1 FM Raleigh". Wknc.org. Archived from the original on 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  6. "On the Beat: David Menconi on music - The record business implosion is touch and go | newsobserver.com blogs". Blogs.newsobserver.com. 2009-02-19. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  7. "Touch and Go to cut staff, distribution services | Pop & Hiss | Los Angeles Times". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  8. Code18 Interactive. "Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records". Ournoisethebook.com. Archived from the original on 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  9. Malitz, David. "XX Merge: The Definitive List of 20 Things to Know - Post Rock". Voices.washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  10. "Merge Records SCORE! Merge is 20!". Mergerecords.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  11. "Artists". Merge Records. Retrieved September 5, 2020.