If you look up “Indie Record Label” in the dictionary, does it have a picture of North Carolina’s Merge Records’ logo there? Yeah, I know, “what’s a dictionary.” The legendary imprint will celebrate its 20th anniversary this fall with a set of subscription-only specially-curated compilations, which, as Idolator put it, are guaranteed to open the wallets of nerds worldwide. The first CD will be curated by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Junebug director Phil Morrison, while celebs like Jonathan Lethem, David Byrne an Amy Poehler are lined up to take charge of future discs. You can start ordering them on September 8th, and they’re limited editions, so set your alarms, my fellow nerds.
The label’s 20-year existence is bookended by two bands who are symbolic of the “indie culture” of their time: Superchunk, whose music Merge was formed specifically to release, and Arcade Fire, whose two recent full-lengths were the label’s greatest financial successes by far. But they’ve released a lot of other fine music in the interim. After the jump, some Merge-tastic videos from a few of my faves.
Superchunk “Hyper Enough” (from Here’s Where the Strings Come In, 1995)
Neutral Milk Hotel “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” (live) (from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, 1998)
The Magnetic Fields “All My Little Words” (amateur video) (from 69 Love Songs, 1999)
Lambchop “Up with People” (from Nixon, 2000)
Arcade Fire “No Cars Go” (from Neon Bible, 2007)