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."
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    Julien Baker
    “Beyond the Band”
    presented by Berklee/Do617
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    “Jeff Buckley: From Hallelujah
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    Pianos Become The Teeth, dd
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    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
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    Tesla
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    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
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    @ the Royale


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    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
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    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
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    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
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    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, July 3rd
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    Steve Miller Band
    Peter Frampton
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


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    The Get Up Kids
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    Immersion
    (featuring Colin from Wire)
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    @ the Sinclair


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    Freezepop
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    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, July 15th
    Beck
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    Tuesday, July 17th
    Erasure
    Reed & Caroline
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Coheed and Cambria
    Taking Back Sunday
    The Story So Far
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


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    Weezer
    Pixies
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    @ Xfinity Center


    Wednesday, July 18th
    Arcade Fire
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


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    Bent Knee
    Gatherers
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    @ the Sinclair


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    Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls
    @ Atwood’s


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    The Magic Numbers
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, July 21st
    Camp Cope
    Petal
    @ the Sinclair


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    Foo Fighters
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, July 23rd
    Greta Van Fleet
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, July 27th
    Arctic Monkeys
    Mini Mansions
    @ TD Garden


    Friday, July 27th
    Boy George & Culture Club
    The B-52s
    Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins)
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Saturday, July 28th
    Sleep
    @ the Royale


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    Radiohead
    @ TD Garden


    Monday, July 30th
    The Cult
    Stone Temple Pilots
    Bush
    Big Jesus
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 31st
    Quicksand
    Glassjaw
    @ the Royale


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    David Byrne
    Benjamin Clementine
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 31st
    The Smashing Pumpkins
    @ TD Garden


    Thursday, August 2nd
    Alex Cameron
    @ the Sinclair


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    The Essex Green
    @ Great Scott


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    Jeff Beck
    & Paul Rodgers
    + Ann Wilson (Heart)
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


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    Pedro the Lion
    H.C. McEntire
    @ Brighton Music Hall


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    Billy Joel
    @ Fenway Park


    Saturday, August 11th
    Wussy
    @ Sonia


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    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    @ the Wilbur


    Saturday, August 11th
    Journey & Def Leppard
    with Cheap Trick
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, August 13th
    Cake
    Ben Folds
    Tall Heights
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Wednesday, August 15th
    Sparta
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, August 17th
    Counting Crows
    Live
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, August 24th
    Beach House
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, August 26th
    Amen Dunes
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday & Tuesday
    September 2nd & 4th
    Pearl Jam
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, September 3rd
    The Fixx (playing “Reach
    the Beach” and more)
    @ City Winery Boston


    Saturday, September 8th
    Ex Hex
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, September 11th
    Killing Joke
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, September 11th
    Van Morrison
    Shana Morrison
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Thursday, September 13th
    MC5
    “MC50: Kick Out the Jams –
    the 50th Anniversary Tour.”
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, September 14th
    The The
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, September 15th
    Ash
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, September 21st
    Outlaw Music Festival with
    Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson,
    Nathaniel Rateliff & The
    Night Sweats, Margo Price,
    Lukas Nelson & Promise of the
    Real, Particle Kid
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, September 28th
    Bully
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, October 17th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    “Dizzy Up The Girl
    20th Anniversary Tour”
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, October 21st
    Courtney Barnett
    Waxahatchee
    @ House of Blues