Happy Anniversary Merge Records — and a giveaway!

our noiseYou scene kids probably already know about Merge Records (the awesome little label that produces some of the biggest indie bands out there–Arcade Fire, Spoon, Magnetic Fields–and just happens to be our “next-door neighbor” in Durham). To help celebrate their recent 20th anniversary, we published a book that chronicles the label’s success story. And to celebrate even more, we’re hosting a giveaway: FIVE of our followers will receive a copy of a Merge Records sampler CD, which includes 21 tracks and a whole lot of awesomeness, in addition to a copy of the new book. Read on for highlights from the press, video from the tour, and info on how to win the goods!

Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label that Got Big and Stayed Small by John Cook is making some noise of its own. New York Magazine recommended the book in its Fall Arts Preview issue, with a photo of Merge co-founder Laura Ballance, saying “the tale of how this tiny record label stuck to its artist-friendly principles and somehow prospered is thoroughly enlightening and uplifting, a model for how to combine your passion and your profession, without screwing up either.”


Laura Ballance rocks out/credit: Pat Graham

Co-founder Mac McCaughan was interviewed for Salon’s new “Expert Witness” interview series, and Mac, Laura, and John Cook chimed in to talk about what happens when indie rock grows up on Gawker’s Book Club.



The book and duo have also been a big hit in the blogosphere, getting posts in more than 60 music and arts blogs, including Paste, Bust, Village Voice, PitchforkThe OnionLargehearted Boy and MotherJones.

And in case reading about the label wasn’t enough, fans and readers were able to see the dynamic indie duo first-hand. Mac and Laura both participated in some great local events at indie stores The RegulatorBull’s Head Bookshop, and Quail Ridge Books, as well as Malaprop’s in Asheville. Not only did they share stories about the label and readings from the book, but they treated audience members to covers of some of their favorite Merge artists.

Mac McCaughan & Laura Ballance of Superchunk “Throwing Things” from Triangle Music on Vimeo.

Mac, Laura and John have one remaining event at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City on Friday, October 23, at 7:00 pm, where they’ll again charm the audience with stories and songs — and an auction of the guitar that Mac plays at the event to benefit the cafe. If you’re in the area, check it out!

Five lucky readers will win this week’s Algonquin Book Booty: their very own Merge sampler CD and a copy of Our Noise; to enter, just leave a comment telling us about your favorite Merge band or song. The contest will close at 11:00 pm ET on Thursday, October 15, and we’ll announce the winners on Friday!


23 Comments On This Post:

October 9, 2009
11:12 am
Helena Knox says...

I suppose I’d have to say Arcade Fire is my favorite Merge band but, wow, it is not particularly easy to say that given the ridiculously delicious selection of bands on the label. Merge Records produces such consistently excellent music that truly knocks my socks off every time. I’ve seen the Broken West three times on two coasts. Same with Telekinesis. I’ll be seeing Wye Oak for the first time tonight and I can’t wait. I’ve seen Superchunk and the Rosebuds more times than I can count. I adore Camera Obscura and caught their most recent show at Cat’s Cradle. I’m yet to see Neutral Milk Hotel, but I’m looking forward to their new album. I love all of these bands; I love Merge Records. Just keep being awesome.

October 9, 2009
11:31 am
Tova B. says...

the rosebuds are a recent find for me and i quite like them- a lot of variety!

October 9, 2009
11:52 am
cindy current says...

merge records has been, and continues to be, an amazing place that fosters great new music. i am such a fan.

October 9, 2009
11:54 am
Sandy Sulzer says...

Superchunk all the way!

That kid in the yellow tee above is also officially my fave indie concert goer.

October 9, 2009
12:02 pm
Marianne Drysdale says...

So many good ones – I have to be boring and say Arcade Fire! Though I do love recently signed Language of Love too – fabulous live.

October 9, 2009
12:26 pm
tom franklin says...

arcade fire, thanks to various friends.

October 9, 2009
12:28 pm
Alan Harris says...

This would be a really nice prize to win. I particularly like The Rosebuds.

October 9, 2009
12:28 pm
fred l says...

I don’t have a favorite band or song, that’s why I’d like to win this sampler.

October 9, 2009
12:46 pm
Kera Bolonik says...

You helped me eMerge as a discerning listener–thanks Merge!

October 9, 2009
1:04 pm
Kim K. says...

Magnetic Fields’ “Papa Was a Rodeo.” Brilliant. Funny. Dark.

October 9, 2009
1:51 pm
Al S. says...

The reissue of The Magnetic Fields The Wayward Bus

October 9, 2009
2:02 pm
Sarah Coppola says...

I love Arcade Fire! Along with Spoon, Neutral Milk Hotel and a lot of other Merge bands. And many of the bands I haven’t actually heard yet I’ve heard of. Which, in the Indie world, can be impressive in itself! Looking forward to hearing more Merge bands!!

October 9, 2009
2:06 pm
Jessica Sadler says...

We love She & Him- we saw them live and loved Hold Me.

October 9, 2009
2:09 pm
Joel Sadler says...

Conor Oberst – Lenders in the Temple

October 9, 2009
3:04 pm
Cat W. says...

I’m pretty excited about Where the Wild Things Are — mostly for the Arcade Fire soundtrack. I really want to give this book to a friend for Christmas, so pick me!

October 9, 2009
3:06 pm
Paul Brackett says...

to this day, “slack motherfucker” cheers me up. And the Arcade Fire free show in Carrboro last year was amazing.

October 9, 2009
3:25 pm
Mary E-B says...

The book of love is long and boring no one can lift the damn thing. It’s full of charts and facts and figures and instructions for dancing but I – I love it when you read to me and you -you can read me anything

October 9, 2009
4:14 pm
Kelly McCollum says...

i could not possibly love Spoon any more than i do. a while back, a friend of mine told me he started listening to them as well. i congratulated him, letting him know that he was finally cool.
thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

October 10, 2009
1:22 am
Jen J says...

Not for all North Carolina!

October 10, 2009
7:00 am
Emily Bell says...

Superchunk & Spoon – what a cool book!

October 10, 2009
3:35 pm
Valerie F says...

My super-cool boyfriend is always the one to introduce me to new indie music, including Arcade Fire… BUT, I totally learned about Spoon from a Scrubs episode =)

October 10, 2009
10:43 pm
Nicky D says...

Lets see I got 2 shout outs about how I am so cool that NOW I know about Spoon and AF. How do I even beat that?!

This is really awesome that you guys are putting out a book chronicling their label’s success. Its nice to see local businesses and people stick together despite each’s nationwide success! Kudos everyone!

October 11, 2009
11:49 am
Erika S. says...

I love Spoon!

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