Bradley's Almanac

Year-End Giveaway: Mucho Merge Records Merch!

Posted on December 31, 2009 at 1:23 pm | No Comments

Let’s send off the year with an Almanac giveaway, shall we?

As 2009 fades into the sunset, so does the year-long celebration that marked the Merge Records’ 20th Anniversary. The beloved North Carolina-based label, which has helped soundtrack nearly the entire second half of my life, commemorated in a variety of ways: with some special releases, a 5-day live music blowout in July, and the massive, subscription-only SCORE! CD service. That insane undertaking finished up last week with the shipment of the final volumes (#13 and #14, for those keeping, um, score), along with a sturdy box to gather them all together. The collected discs are a thing of beauty, indeed…

If you look closely, you’ll see 17 CDs and a book: 14 lovingly-curated Merge mix discs, 3 special compilations (Merge remixes, Merge cover songs, and a Scharpling & Wurster comedy album), and the Merge Records Companion book, which pulls together the cover art for every release they’ve had so far. Impressive is an understatement, especially when you look at the list of those who were invited to create those mix discs: Peter Buck, Phil Morrison, David Chang, Georgia Hubley, Jonathan Lethem, Alex Ross, Zach Galifianakis, Marcel Dzama, David Byrne, Miranda July, Kara Walker, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Andrea Zitel. Something new showed up in my mailbox every month this year, like clockwork, and gave subscribers a close look at the Merge-related musical tastes of that varied list of celebrity fans. How the label is going to top this for their 25th anniversary is a true mystery. Sure do hope they try, though.

While I won’t be sad to see 2009 in my review mirror (in summary – it sucked), there was one standout highlight: That five-day fest, aka XXMerge, down in Carrboro, NC, where I traveled all the way from my Boston home. Not just the musical high-watermark of my ’09, but maybe my life, no foolin’. I spent too much time enjoying myself to properly document it here on the Almanac, but I did twitter a fair amount, and took a whole mess of photos. Can’t look at them without wishing I was back inside the Cat’s Cradle, hanging out at the OCSC, or on the kickball field. So much freakin’ fun.

Alright, enough with making you envious… on to the point of this here post, which was not just to mark the end of SCORE! and Merge’s wonderful 20th year, but to pass on a little anniversary present to an Almanac reader: A whole pile of Merge-related merch that I’ve gathered together with help from the label, and from Algonquin Books. Have a look…

Yes, one lucky sucker will be gifted with the following…

  • The book: A copy of “Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small”, from Algonquin Books. It’s a fantastic read, written by John Cook and label heads/Superchunk bandmates Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance, with a load of great photos from throughout their 20 year history. I’ve read a lot of music-related books, and this measures up to the best of ’em, as far as insight into how a label can be run the right way (as well as how so many majors do it wrong).
  • The music: Two short-players that Merge released this year: Superchunk‘s “Leaves In The Gutter” EP and Spoon‘s “Got Nuffin” single.
  • The art: Five posters, including one from Merge’s 10th Anniversary, its 15th Anniversary, and a couple from July’s XXMerge (the official XXMerge poster had a limited, numbered print run of 500, one of which will be yours).
  • The schwag: A handful of buttons from the label and their artists (including a couple of XXMerge ones) along with some Merge stickers, and an “Our Noise” bookmark.
  • The newspaper: The special Merge-centric edition of the Independent Weekly, the North Carolina-based paper who blew me away with their extensive coverage of the anniversary and the XXMerge bash.
  • So there you go, probably the best giveaway I’ve ever thrown down. I’ll say this in my best Rod Roddy voice: All this can be yours for the low, low price of sending me an email titled “Merge Merch!” to giveaways [at] bradleysalmanac [dot] com before 12 Noon on Monday, January 11th. Two conditions: Tell me what your absolute favorite Merge-released album is, (note – this condition was added on the morning of January 1st, for my own amusement, no worries if you’ve already entered without naming one), and also be sure you live in the continental US or Canada, as the postage is already going to set me back a bit (remember, the Almanac runs on love, not pesky ads). I’ll pick one random winner that very afternoon.

    Ok then, off to your email program with ya. Oh, and Happy New Year and all that best wishes stuff. Oh, and one more thing – Thank you, Merge. For helping me make it through this year, and so many that preceded it. Keep the good stuff coming.


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  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
    - The Kids In The Hall
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