It’s a tough time for indie music labels, but Merge Records seems to doing OK. The North Carolina label – started by Superchunk in 1989, which released breakthroughs by Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel and others – just started a vinyl subscription service, and it will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a four-day festival of the label’s all-stars. The initial lineup, announced today, includes Superchunk, Destroyer, the Mountain Goats, Waxahatchee, Lambchop, Ibibio Sound Machine, Hiss Golden Messenger, Wye Oak and more. More performers will be announced soon.
The fest, MRG30, will happen July 24-27, 2019 in Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina. Passes go on sale Friday, February 8th and cost $215. More information is on the Merge website.
Merge’s vinyl subscription service, called Born Under a Good Sign, just kicked off with a crew of Merge artists performing David Bowie’s album Heroes. The album will also be available at some independent stores on Friday.
Merge’s birthday bashes have become legendary. The 25th anniversary show, held in 2014, featured Neutral Milk Hotel and Sueprchunk, while the 20th anniversary bash included Conor Oberst, Spoon and more.
In 2016, Merge’s CEO Laura Ballance described what makes a great Merge artist: “We are definitely attracted to people who are self-sufficient, resourceful, and think about growing like we did—slowly and patiently. We’ve never stuck to one genre. Our musical taste is diverse, as I think most people’s is. We work with bands that we think sound good, and hopefully bands that we can be friends with.”