March 3, 2009

Genghis Khan
He could not keep
All his kings
Supplied with sleep



Jasper Johns, Target, 1958

* Excerpt from the initial part of a history of Mac's Merge.

"... Merge has a special place in my heart. For me, for a very, very long time, the term “indie rock” literally meant “Superchunk. And bands that sound similar to Superchunk.” My mind was made up about that soon after first hearing Tossing Seeds some time in the early ’90s.

"And I know I’m not alone in my fondness for Merge. In fact, all of us MBV’ers adore Merge, and I’m willing to bet that a substantial portion of you reading this right now feel similarly. That’s why, over the course of the next year, we’re going to devote some time here at MBV to look back at, and celebrate, the wonderful Merge catalog of these last 20 years. We hope you’ll come along for the ride, we hope you’ll join in on the conversations, and most of all, we hope you’ll enjoy all the great music we’re going to drop on you.

"So.

"Let us start at the beginning. It’s the summer of 1989… it’s a time when discovering alternatives to the prevalent musical dreck (all due respect to Nelson and E’Nuff Z’Nuff) wasn’t as easy as simply logging onto Hype Machine and downloading to your iPod. Getting your indie rock took a lot of work. The best music out there was out there in the real world, and it was being passed around in the form of tapes and small-batch 7-inches. And that summer of ‘89 marked the first time that the tapes and the small-batch 7-inches from a new label Merge Records began to appear. With a modest goal (putting out stuff by their band, Chunk, and some stuff by their friends), Mac MacCaughan and Laura Ballance launched Merge Records out of a bedroom in Chapel Hill, NC."

* This week, The New Yorker online feature an excerpt from the book David Foster Wallace was working on when he died, as well as Roger Angell's review of the new Joe Torre book.

* "The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." -- Kurt Vonnegut

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