FILTER writes of the video, “Created and directed by Jason Sievers, the video takes the band’s infectious post-rock sound–dense with knots of sonic layers of guitar riffs and fuzz–and unravels it in the form of a metaphorical ball of yarn. It rolls around creating intricate designs and bursts into strands of color with each build of the song. The video for “Light, Raking” presents the track in a new–playful and adventurous–light.”
Watch Polvo’s video for “Light, Raking” now
During their initial run from 1990–1998, Polvo crafted a sound so fantastically obstinate and so perfectly cockeyed that its DNA is essentially resistant to mediocrity or repetition. On Siberia, that sound feels more limber and more aerodynamic than ever. In their review of Siberia, Rolling Stone declared, “This is what getting the band together should be about,” while Pitchfork wrote, “The real triumph of Polvo’s second phase is how they’ve managed to become a more approachable band without losing their sense of adventure.”
Siberia is available now on CD and LP in the Merge store and from your local record store. Also, find Siberia at iTunes, Amazon, Spotify & Rdio.
Vertical Scratchers is John Schmersal (ex-Brainiac/Enon, live Caribou, and Crooks on Tape) and Christian Beaulieu (ex-Triclops!/Anywhere).
Vertical Scratchers formed in Los Angeles in 2012. John and Christian met at a Thanksgiving party, began hanging out, and then just decided to be a band together. John says, “I love Christian’s drumming because he approaches it like a songwriter, as he is one in his own right. There aren’t really drum fills—more like rhythmic accents that punctuate what is happening at that point in the song itself.”
One of the most persistent elements you will hear throughout the record is the percussive nature in which the guitars were played and recorded. Guitar playing is vertical scratching, and in this band, the guitar strums are almost louder than the amps. John explains, “Part of the aesthetic we were establishing when writing Vertical Scratchers songs was to maintain a sense of urgency and raw energy without relying on volume and distortion. I wanted the guitars to sound light and jangly, and most songs were purposefully sung in a soft falsetto.”
Most Vertical Scratchers songs clock in under the two-minute mark but often go in twice as many directions as your average-length song. Pop deception. Think the Kinks with a Buzzcocks brevity.
Keep up with Vertical Scratchers at VerticalScratchers.com and follow them on Facebook & Twitter
Mac wrote of the new Clambake:
To celebrate our return to Australia, we take you back to the last show of our last visit and a Clambake recorded live at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne in November 1996. It sounds like this was a fun night and I’m sure it was—Smudge and The 3Ds were on the bill—so please excuse a few glitches in the recording and enjoy the energy circa ’96. Looking forward to seeing you again shortly.Clambake Vol 7 track list:
3. Hyper Enough
5. Punch Me Harder
6. Silverleaf and Snowy Tears
7. Iron On
8. Water Wings
9. Wilbur Chat
10. Sunshine State
11. On the Mouth
13. Why Do You Have to Put a Date on Everything
14. Skip Steps 1 & 3
15. Tie a Rope to the Back of the Bus
16. Driveway to Driveway
17. 100,000 Fireflies
Superchunk’s I Hate Music is available now on CD, LP, and digital in the Merge store & at iTunes.
Superchunk on tour:
(visit Superchunk.com for a special announcement from Laura regarding the band’s upcoming tour)
Nov 11 Brisbane, AU – Jet Black Cat Music (free in-store)
Nov 12 Brisbane, AU – The Tivoli *
Nov 15-16 Melbourne, AU – The Forum *
Nov 29–Dec 01 Camber Sands, UK – All Tomorrow’s Parties ‘End of an Era Pt. 2’
Dec 02 Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club w/ Girls Against Boys
Dec 03 London, UK – Electric Ballroom w/ Girls Against Boys
Dec 05 Copenhagen, DK – Loppen
Dec 06 Stockholm, SE – Debaser
Dec 08 Helsinki, FI – Tavastia
Feb 05 Dallas, TX – Trees^
Feb 06 Austin, TX – The Mohawk^
Feb 07 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s^
Feb 08 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks^
* w/ Neutral Milk Hotel & M. Ward
^ w/ Waxahatchee
The first event of our 25th anniversary year will be the Merge 25K—a 25 km (15.5 miles) road race on Saturday, March 22, 2014. We are working to make this unique event a great time for everyone involved including a slam-bang finish line with fun for the whole family!
The first point-to-point race of its kind, participants will convene at the starting line in Chapel Hill, NC, where Merge had its beginnings, and race to the finish in our current home of downtown Durham. Our hope is to generate significant donations for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and Habitat for Humanity of Durham and Orange County while marking the momentous occasion of 25 years of releasing great music from our home base in North Carolina.
The Merge 25K is presented in partnership with Bull City Running Co. Register now at SportOften.com and visit our race page for more details.
And don’t forget: we are taking subscriptions now for the limited-edition Or Thousands of Prizes subscription box set. All proceeds from Or Thousands of Prizes will go to Oxfam America, an organization working to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.
On the occasion of Ex Hex signing to Merge, Mary contributed the following information about the band:
Ex Hex is what your older brother’s friends listened to. “Roxy Roller” and “Virginia Plain” rumbling from the Kenwood in the basement.
It’s what your babysitters listened to, and it’s what stuck with me.
Ex Hex is a power trio: guitar, drums, and bass.
We are thrilled to have found a home at Merge.
Ex Hex will release their debut album in 2014, and a tour is in the works including the SXSW Festival in March.
So, beginning in late January 2014, I’ll be traveling throughout Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona with my acoustic guitar, hollering & strumming into thin air to audiences weary of the intimate setting of the rock bar-ambienced dins of out-of-time cocktail-shaker-maracas, bachelorette parties and bar-side conversations about “who’s-that-guy-onstage-again?” and “Ten-bucks-to-get-in-and-it’s-just-a-bunch-of-dudes-shushing-me-when-I-try-and-tell-you-about-my-new-hilarious-fantasy-football-team-name!”. In between the shows, I’ll also be working on my latest collection of run-on sentences (containing parenthesis so I can cram in more unnecessarily-tangented details) featuring nouns disguised as adjectives. I like using determiners as well, but my therapist thinks that it adds to my issues (with over-explaining).For information on how you can host a Richard Buckner show in your very own living room, visit UndertowMusic.com.
Watch the video for “When You Tell Me How It Is” and find Surrounded on CD, LP and digital download now in the Merge store. A full list of current tour dates is below, and keep up with Richard Buckner on Twitter, Facebook, and his website.
Richard Buckner on tour:
Nov 17 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
Dec 05 Berlin, DE Haul w/ Destroyer
Dec 07 Copenhagen, DK Ideal Bar
Dec 08 Stockholm, SE Debaser Ballroom
Dec 09 Goteborg, SE Pustervik
Dec 11 Gent, BE Loge
Dec 12 Cologne, DE King Georg
Dec 13 Borger, NL Van Slag
Dec 14 Den Haag, NL State-X New Forms
Dec 15 Nijmegen, NL Merleyn
Dec 16 London, UK St. Pancras Old Church
Dec 18 Leeds, UK Brudenall Social Club
Dec 19 Dublin, IE Whelan’s
Directed by David Galloway, the “Bye Bye” video features Dan Bejar hanging out with his guitar and a bunch of farm chickens. Be sure to watch until the end! And, if you missed it, check out “El Rito” from Five Spanish Songs via SoundCloud.
Bejar is currently on a solo tour which will be his last live dates until 2015, so don’t miss him! Pre-order Five Spanish Songs on CD or 12″ vinyl + an exclusive Destroyer t-shirt now in the Merge store.
Destroyer on tour:
Nov 5 Los Angeles, CA — The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever %
Nov 6 Los Angeles, CA — The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever %
Nov 7 Chicago, IL — Old Town School of Folk Music ^
Nov 8 Winnipeg, MB — Park Theatre
Nov 9 Toronto, ON — The Great Hall %
Nov 10 New York, NY — Bowery Ballroom %
Nov 11 Washington, DC — Sixth & I Historic Synagogue %
Nov 12 Philadelphia, PA — Johnny Brenda’s %
Nov 13 Allston, MA — Brighton Music Hall %
Nov 14 Montreal, QC — Il Motore %
Nov 19 Austin, TX — The Belmont
Nov 20 Denver, CO — Larimer Lounge
Nov 21 Columbus, OH — Wexner Center
Dec 01 Utrecht, NL — Le Guess Who? Festival
Dec 02 London, UK — Bush Hall
Dec 03 Copenhagen, DK — Jazzhouse CPH
Dec 04 Warsaw, PL — Skwer
Dec 05 Berlin, DK — Hau1
Dec 06 Lisbon, PT — Musicbox
Dec 07 Guimaraes, PT — CCVF
Dec 09 Sala Apolo, ES — Sala Apolo
Dec 10 San Sebastian, ES — Gazteszena
% = w/ Pink Mountaintops
^ = Azita
Click here to view the embedded video.
RollingStone.com premiered “I Miss Your Bones” today from Trouble writing, “Fans can get a taste of the album with an exclusive stream of “I Miss Your Bones,” a sprawling epic that finds singer Amber Papini mourning everlasting loss with such sad lines as, ‘All the stars will twinkle in the mist of the sea/ Black and lonely.” Behind her, the band builds from a sparse power-pop stomp to a noisy, psychedelic freak-out.’”
Listen to “I Miss Your Bones” now at RollingStone.com
In its lyrics and its musical construction, Trouble is an album that wonders about the mysteries that lurk just beyond our field of vision. Slyly and sympathetically, Papini ponders a Saturday afternoon fishing trip as a wrenching interplay of life and death, the perfect blue sky at an air show as a setting for a soured romance. Papini elaborates: “Most of the songs are about everyday environments that arouse anxiety or unease. The ocean isn’t meant for people; we aren’t supposed to be there, and some of the animals that live there are much bigger and faster than we are in the water. I think a lot of the songs deal with this ‘out of place’ kind of theme, feelings of unease and the questions of what is under you or what surrounds you.”
Pre-order Trouble on CD or LP with a special Merge-exclusive t-shirt bundle now in the Merge store.
In the premiere of the “Miracle Temple Holiness” video, Popmatters writes, “Earlier this year, PopMatters’ Matthew Fiander described Miracle Temple as ‘a lush, deeply layered, sunburst of a record’, a rich effort “that rises and falls on [Heather] McEntire’s rangy, sweet vocals and forms ridges and valleys in [guitarist Jenks] Miller’s impeccable knack for texture’. On ‘Miracle Temple Holiness’, Mount Moriah stretches things out a little more, moving at a molasses-like pace with a low-heat intensity that really draws out all the soulful depth out of Heather McEntire’s incomparably resonant voice.”
Watch & share the video for “Miracle Temple Holiness” now via Merge YouTube
Mount Moriah’s Miracle Temple is available now on CD, LP and digital in the Merge store. A full list of tour dates is below, and keep up with the band on Twitter and Facebook.
Mount Moriah on tour:
^ = w/ Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
Nov 1 Washington, DC — Rock and Roll Hotel ^
Nov 2 New York, NY — Mercury Lounge ^
Nov 3 Phildelphia, PA — North Star Bar ^
Nov 5 Providence, RI — Columbus Theatre ^
Nov 6 Cambridge, MA — Lizard Lounge ^
Jan 25 Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall (Heather McEntire solo) w/ Amy Ray
Jan 26 Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse (Heather McEntire solo) w/ Amy Ray
Click here to view the embedded video.
A subscription-based, bonus-filled box set celebrating Merge’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Or Thousands of Prizes will include twelve 7-inches (split singles, mostly) on colored vinyl featuring exclusive, newly recorded tracks from 25 Merge artists including Superchunk, Mikal Cronin, Mount Moriah, The Mountain Goats, The Clientele, Destroyer, King Khan & the Shrines, Lambchop, and more. The Merge staff are also assembling an assortment of bonus items and gear for subscribers, including a collector’s box to show off and organize the 7-inch collection, an exclusive t-shirt commemorating 25 years of Merge Records, a “surprise” bonus 12-inch, a CD and digital download of all Or Thousands of Prizes tracks, and an updated and newly issued e-book version of our visual discography, The Merge Records Companion.
In addition, all subscribers will have first access to tickets for special Merge anniversary events and be entered to win giveaways throughout 2014.
The limited-edition Or Thousands of Prizes box set can only be purchased as a subscription via the Merge online store, with two 7-inches shipping bi-monthly beginning in February 2014. The singles will not be available individually or sold in stores.
All proceeds from Or Thousands of Prizes will go to Oxfam America, an organization working to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.
Superchunk is helping us kick off the celebration by sharing this year’s Halloween cover of Misfits’ “Children in Heat.” Stream the song below, and pre-order your subscription to Or Thousands of Prizes today (or by November 30 at the latest) to receive a download of the track!
Pre-order Or Thousands of Prizes now in the Merge store
Christian is “beyond stoked” to release a record on the same label that put out Verbena’s Souls for Sale album, and he’s also excited to be labelmates with fellow San Franciscan Mikal Cronin. John is just happy to be here and, in his words, “frankly waiting for someone to wake me up and tell me to ‘get back to work!’” He is also thrilled to be releasing a record on the same label as Polvo.
Look for the debut album from Vertical Scratchers in early 2014. We will have lots more to share about them soon, but in the meantime, check out VerticalScratchers.com and follow them on Facebook & Twitter.
“Saint Rich just killed it at the Bowery.” —Yeasayer
Christian Peslak and “Delicate” Steve Marion have been orbiting each other for nearly 10 years in a surprisingly vibrant local scene in pastoral New Jersey. Before Peslak was drafted as a guitarist into the Delicate Steve touring band, he was a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who had completed an album’s worth of songs by the time he was 15. Peslak sings with a natural ease, a spirit that finds its way into all corners of Saint Rich’s songs. There’s reference here to the Laurel Canyons, old and new, to Bearsville, to any place where assorted love songs were recorded in a space you imagine had vaulted wide-beamed ceilings with waters running close outside.
Praise for Beyond the Drone:
“Defiant and rollicking” —SPIN
“Saint Rich introduces not only lyrics, but also a clean unique sound, greatly differing from Delicate Steve’s purely instrumental experimentation.” —InterviewMagazine.com
“It’s unbelievable how seamlessly Christian Peslak’s vocal and guitar skills mesh with Marion’s amazing melody.” —KEXP
“‘Officer’ places Saint Rich amidst a strange sonic territory; it’s straightforward in its message and displays a sense of lackadaisical, hazy west coast vibes, but it’s also a sprawling pseudo-country anthem.” —Paste Magazine
“Peslak sings … with a surprisingly subtle vocal style that somehow manages to blend innocence, sarcasm, and gentleness into a single slightly whimsical and bemused voice, and these are smart songs, full of unexpected and delightful lines and turns of phrase.” —AllMusic
Watch the video for ”Officer,” listen to Saint Rich perform live from WFUV’s CMJ festivities, and don’t miss the Saint Rich band on tour now!
Pick up your copy of Beyond the Drone on CD, LP, and digital in the Merge store.
Saint Rich on tour:
* w/ Wild Belle
^ w/ Dr. Dog
Oct 22 Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall*
Oct 23 Pittsburgh, PA – Rex Theater*
Oct 25 Indianapolis, IN – White Rabbit*
Oct 26 Chicago, IL – Metro*
Oct 27 Columbus, OH – Kobo Live
Nov 02 Middletown, CT – Westco Cafe
Nov 05 Lexington, KY – Cosmic Charlie’s
Nov 06 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
Nov 08 Baton Rouge, LA – Mud and Water
Nov 09 Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Nites
Nov 11 New Orleans, LA – Circle Bar
Nov 12 Atlanta, GA – 529
Nov 13 Durham, NC – Duke Coffeehouse
Nov 14 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
Nov 15 Kingston, NY – BSP
Jan 25 New York, NY – Terminal 5^
Jan 27 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom^
Jan 28 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground Ballroom^
Feb 01 Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory^
Feb 03 Covington, KY – Madison Theatre^
Feb 05 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall^
Feb 07 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue & 7th St. Entry
Feb 20 Houston, TX – Warehouse Live^
Feb 22 Dallas, TX – House of Blues^
Feb 24 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom^
Feb 25 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom^
Feb 26 Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory^
Feb 27 Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern Theater^
Feb 28 Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst Club^
Mar 01 San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theater^
Mar 03 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom^
Mar 04 Vancouver, BC – Venue^
Mar 05 Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre^
Mar 07 Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex^
Mar 08 Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater^
Mar 10 Lawrence, KS – Liberty Hall^
Mar 11 Omaha, NE – Slowdown^
Mar 12 St. Louis, MO – The Pageant^
“Papini’s lyrics are witty, and if you let her songs—which range from toe-tapping power pop to amped-up folk—into your head, they’ll stay there.” —The New Yorker
Watch and share the trailer for Trouble now, and stay tuned for much more from Amber, Brian, and Nathan as the release date approaches.
Click here to view the embedded video.