You scene kids probably already know about Merge Records (the awesome little label that produces some of the biggest indie bands out there–Arcade Fire, Spoon, Magnetic Fields–and just happens to be our “next-door neighbor” in Durham). To help celebrate their recent 20th anniversary, we published a book that chronicles the label’s success story. And to celebrate even more, we’re hosting a giveaway: FIVE of our followers will receive a copy of a Merge Records sampler CD, which includes 21 tracks and a whole lot of awesomeness, in addition to a copy of the new book. Read on for highlights from the press, video from the tour, and info on how to win the goods!
Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label that Got Big and Stayed Small by John Cook is making some noise of its own. New York Magazine recommended the book in its Fall Arts Preview issue, with a photo of Merge co-founder Laura Ballance, saying “the tale of how this tiny record label stuck to its artist-friendly principles and somehow prospered is thoroughly enlightening and uplifting, a model for how to combine your passion and your profession, without screwing up either.”
Co-founder Mac McCaughan was interviewed for Salon’s new “Expert Witness” interview series, and Mac, Laura, and John Cook chimed in to talk about what happens when indie rock grows up on Gawker’s Book Club.
The book and duo have also been a big hit in the blogosphere, getting posts in more than 60 music and arts blogs, including Paste, Bust, Village Voice, Pitchfork, The Onion, Largehearted Boy and MotherJones.
And in case reading about the label wasn’t enough, fans and readers were able to see the dynamic indie duo first-hand. Mac and Laura both participated in some great local events at indie stores The Regulator, Bull’s Head Bookshop, and Quail Ridge Books, as well as Malaprop’s in Asheville. Not only did they share stories about the label and readings from the book, but they treated audience members to covers of some of their favorite Merge artists.
Mac, Laura and John have one remaining event at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City on Friday, October 23, at 7:00 pm, where they’ll again charm the audience with stories and songs — and an auction of the guitar that Mac plays at the event to benefit the cafe. If you’re in the area, check it out!
Five lucky readers will win this week’s Algonquin Book Booty: their very own Merge sampler CD and a copy of Our Noise; to enter, just leave a comment telling us about your favorite Merge band or song. The contest will close at 11:00 pm ET on Thursday, October 15, and we’ll announce the winners on Friday!