Thursday, December 31, 2009
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...
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.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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