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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year-End Giveaway: Mucho Merge Records Merch!

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.


    featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
    live in cambridge, ma
    on november 14th, 2008
    previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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