Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Apr 20th 2010 4:30PM by Steve McLean
The Durham, North Carolina-based label marked its 20th anniversary last year by staging a music festival, as well as releasing a box set, two compilations and a book.
Over the years, Merge has put out more than 350 records by the likes of Portastatic (another of McCaughan's groups), the Magnetic Fields, Neutral Milk Hotel, Spoon, Destroyer, M. Ward, Camera Obscura, Teenage Fanclub, Caribou, Shout Out Louds, She & Him, Lou Barlow and its biggest seller: Montreal's Arcade Fire.
The notoriously tight-lipped group is supposed to have its Markus Dravs-produced follow-up to 2007's 'Neon Bible' in stores this summer, but McCaughan insists he has no further details about it.
"I know they're still working on their record, but I don't really have any more news than that. They tend to hunker down."
Also on the way from Merge is a new album from former Everything But the Girl singer Tracey Thorn, a Wye Oak EP, three reissues from Destroyer, a Magnetic Fields vinyl box set and the label debut by another Chapel Hill, North Carolina band, the Love Language. Caribou's 'Swim,' the follow-up to the 2008 Polaris Prize-winning 'Andorra,' will arrive on April 20. This spring could be the busiest time in the label's history.
It recently released albums by label stalwarts Spoon and Shout Out Louds, emerging British buzz band Let's Wrestle and 'Volume Two' by She & Him -- the collaborative project between M Ward and actress, singer, songwriter and musician Zooey Deschanel, which debuted at #6 on the U.S. chart, selling 47,000 copies.
"A lot of people knew those records were out there, so, for a label like Merge, it's really important for us to make sure that we work extra hard on the records we love just as much that maybe don't get as much attention," says McCaughan.
One of those records is Radar Bros.' newest full-length which came out on March 23. The veteran indie rock/power pop group from Los Angeles released three previous albums through Merge, but McCaughan feels they deserve more exposure.
"I think that if a band is really good and consistent that people tend to take them for granted. [Radar Bros.] new record is called 'The Illustrated Garden,' and it's a record that I want more people to listen to."
McCaughan asserts that, despite increased success over the years, the company hasn't really changed much since the early days.
"I think that we just operate the way we always do, but things have just grown in terms of how many people work at Merge and how many records we can sell. So I see our place as the same, only bigger than when we started in terms of what the appeal of Merge is to fans and what the appeal is to us to be doing it.
"Going forward, I think we'll just keep on doing what we're doing, which is always what we've done. One reason that we still exist is that we've never really laid out a five-year plan where we said we were going to do this and be at that place by then, and we're going to be this big and sell this many records. We just do what works for us and we're lucky to work with great artists."