Thursday, August 31, 2006

RICHARD BUCKNER TOUR DIARY ("Incoherencies")- Entry #1

It's doubtful that anyone knows the road as well as Richard Buckner, and he has graciously agreed to share his experiences and observations with us. This is the first installment in a continuing series. Sit back, relax. Buckle up. And smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Oxford, MS - 8/31/06 - 2:36am

Ole Miss Motel: An off-season ("'cept on game night") Taj Mahal too far from the redneck riviera to attract the a-list crackers. On the doors, are hearts with embedded room numbers --- possibly a holdover from the days, only a few years ago, when the rooms were rented by the hour. Beige and brownish-pink motifs invite you into a set that couldve been used in 70s porn. I also believe the room hasn't been cleaned since. Remnants of previous travelers sit, waiting to be discovered; something stuck to the side of a nightstand or a basin.

("What is that?")

("How did it land there?")

("When did it arrive?")

But, its around the corner from Proud Larrys and 1/2 the price of the more maintained cages around Oxford, MS. I was last here a few years ago. There were a couple of Springer-guest archetypes (females, we believed) next door, who talked at my guitar player and I as we loaded our guitars into our room after the show. The two of them were partying like divorcees on their first night out, but i think it was their one zillionth night out. They were somewhere between 19 and 49 years old, so any guess would work here. Tonight, though, its calm, with only a few southern trophies limping to the ice machine across the parking lot or to the trunk of their cars for the second carton of the day before goodnight-johnboy.

Andrew Bryant was playing a beautiful set when we got to the gig. He made me wish that I'd practiced more. We went on about 10:15 or so. There's a midnight curfew at Proud Larrys ("'cept on game night"). After a sonic breakfast sandwich and coffee, 551 miles tomorrow and a step-up bed-wise: the aging queen of motels --- Motel 6.


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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Help Dinosaur Jr!

(Lou & Hannelore Barlow at Dino Jr BBQ last summer)

After playing a show at Warsaw in Brooklyn last nite, Dinosaur Jr had their trailer broken into...J's Amma guitar, Mountain Man guitar, Lou's Rickenbacker, cymbals, pedals...everything gone.

Any info at all you can provide would be greatly appreciated-

!No Shows will be cancelled!

1959 Fender Jazzmaster SN# 38927.
-decal coming off. cracked headstock at top near low E peg.
color black with purple/bluish sparkle coming through. adonized pick guard gold metal. tuneomatic bridge gold, tuning pegs gold.

1961-3 Fender Jazzmaster SN# 62012.
-purple sparkle, black pickup covers. headstock repaired, a whole new piece of wood was glued on for the top part of the headstock under the tuners and up a 1/2" , along the whole top of the headstock. gold tuneomatic bridge, gold tuners

1964-5 Fender Jazzmaster SN# L21581.
-orange, white pearl pickguard, stickers we're all over it, original tuners.

Fender Purple Jazzmaster new SN# R074329.
-purple sparkle with matching headstock gold adonized guard tuneomatic bridge.

Rory Gallagher Stratocaster new SN# R25507.
-has a big gold grover tuning peg on low E

Rickenbacker 197? Fireglo Bass SN# 4001.
-checker-board binding.

B.C. Rich Warlock Bass SN# 4242413

Custom pedal board with custom audio electronics RS-10 foot controller, Teese RNC2 wah pedal, boss stage tuner, mute box, and cables.

[1] Paiste 20" 2002 medium
[1] Paiste 20" giant beat
[1] Paiste 20" 2002 crash
[2] Paiste 19" 2002 crash
[2] Paiste 15" 2002 sound edge top hi-hats
[1] 15" 2002 sound edge bottom hi-hats

One Black backpack with Sony headphones, tools, etc.

If you have any information, please report back! Thanks.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Blogger Radio!

Dave of BrooklynVegan has been given the very awesome opportunity to blog via satellite radio! You can listen to "Blog Radio" on Sirius channel Left of Center on Tuesday nights, 10pm EST.

Last week Dave's show consisted of all Merge artists! Not only that - he played songs that are all available on our website.

Check the "all Merge all the time" playlist (and links to free mp3s) HERE!

-Lindsey K.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Lunchtime visitors!

(clockwise from left) Bob Wiseman, Owen Pallett, Mac, Patrick, Martin & Lindsey Merge.

Our good buddy, Owen Pallett aka Final Fantasy and member of Arcade Fire, stopped by with his crew for a lunch at Durham's fine establishment - Jo & Joe's. They are on their way to a show tonight in DC at The Red and Black! If you are in the area, check it out!

We got some scoop on the upcoming Arcade Fire record, talked about weird and wonderful venues along their tour, and tried to lure them into talking about how awesome the Carolina Hurricanes are to no avail.

Good times,

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Friday, August 25, 2006

M. Ward on Letterman

M.Ward on Letterman last night was great. I like that he played the song "chinese translation." I was watching it with a friend and he said "I didn't know Donnie Darko was in a band." made me laugh. And they held up the VINYL. so you can see it on tv. good choice whoever decided that at Merge.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wilbur Down Under

It must be harsh being Jim Wilbur. The poor guy cannot escape the paparazzi, no matter where he goes. Even on vacation in Australia, the man can find no peace. The fanatical Australian news media still manages to track him down. But that doesn't mean he has to actaully talk to them. No sir, he won't be giving them that satisfaction.

Check it out here.


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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Damaged" Reviews

Lots of great reviews coming out about the Lambchop record that was released yesterday!

Don't forget to enter the Damaged photo contest, too!
And about the tour dates!

Tiny Mix Tapes
Drowned in Sound
Music OMH
Play Louder
Faster Louder
Sunday Observer/Music Monthly
Entertainment Wise
The Guardian
The Onion AV Club
All Music Guide

There's also a great interview/feature in last week's Nashville Scene. Check it out.


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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hurry Back, Big Eddie!

As some of you may know, Big Ed Schultz has been on vacation since last Thursday. While I do enjoy Senior Legal Correspondent Norman Goldman when he fills in, Jay Marvin is pushing the Merge Dungeon's talk radio quota to its limits. If I have to listen to Marvin say "I hate to report on rumors, but..." one more time, we may have to switch to (dramatic pause) MUSIC for a while. In the afternoon!

Yes, Jay, we know that you think the President is drinking again. It's great that you don't want to see Snakes on a Plane and that you don't understand what this whole "downloading music" thing is all about, but is the nation's #1 progressive talk radio program really the preferred venue for getting this info to the public?

I hope Big Eddie is enjoying his vacation. I'll be listening tomorrow at 3:06 pm Eastern on WCHL 1360, but for now, Jay Marvin just isn't cutting it.


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Monday, August 21, 2006

I Love Paris in the Summer

a very special guest came by the merge mailorder room last friday!

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

My New Tattoo

When people look at me, they cannot believe that I have tattoos. For those who do not know, when I grow my hair, it goes into an afro and Napolean Dynamite looks like me. I do not look like him, because I was first. When I cut my hair short, people say I look like John Malkovich, but with glasses. And when my hair grows a little, I get many David Letterman references. And when I cut really short like a buzz cut, I get David Cross.

One night I went to see David Cross play in Raleigh, and when I went up to the bartender/waitress to be seated, she looked at me dead on, and said “Yeah right David, don’t you need to be backstage getting ready.” And I told her that I wasn’t David, and she didn’t believe me for about 30 seconds. She didn’t believe it. She said that she would put me more towards the back because she was worried that if David saw me, he would get pissed. Who knows why. Anyway, even after the show, me and my friends went to a bar around the corner from the club, and we told them that I was David Cross. They bought it and got us a free round. Even though I frequent that bar and they know me. We were about to get another free round when the barback and another patron said “hello jack” to me. My cover was blown. Dang.

Anyway, I digress. Tattoos. So yeah, I have 7 tattoos now. I started getting them when I was around 22ish. I’m 36 now. The newest tattoo that I had put on me is something that only a select group of people would know. And it is the ultimate geek tattoo. It is a tattoo of an Umber Hulk that failed its saving throw against the spell Otto’s Irresistible Dance.

You are now probably looking at that last sentence in confusion and radio waves are going on inside your head. What did he just say? Is it in English?

Anyway it is a Dungeons and Dragons reference. Those that play the game will totally understand and laugh their asses off. Those that never played it or played it very little will still not understand.

Now you ask why I would get such an ultimate geek thing tattooed on myself that only other select geeks would understand. I would rather have that then the Tazmanian Devil, some college sports logo, Tweety Bird, butterfly, fake tribal lines, shamrock, flames, Texaco gas star (yes its from Texaco gas), swallows on my shoulder blades (although when girls have those, its hot) or anything else generic that I cant think of.

Tattoos are supposed to represent individuality and something close to you. When you get it, its forever. And Dungeons and Dragons has been forever in my life. I have been playing it since I was 10. And I play it for fun, I don’t do the dress up, renaissance fair type stuff. I play it also to hang with friends. I have been in one group since I was 10. We used to play all the time, even in college. Now that everyone has jobs, marriage, kids, every thanksgiving weekend me and 4 other friends have been getting together and playing this way since 1998. Can you say you have had friends since you were 10 and get together with them once a year and hang out and have a good time?

And now I am playing with another group in Raleigh. And we’ve been doing it for almost two years now, and its great.

So that’s why I got this tattoo recently on me. Maybe in future blogs I will talk about the other tattoos that I have.

My next tattoo will be the Chinese symbol for chicken and broccoli. Ha ha.

Merge Production Guy

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Camera Obscura on World Cafe


Intern Corner

(photo of Sonia on our "intern wall")

(Beebo is the handsome young devil in green with Spott and Jack from Merge at Lindsey's house-warming party ~Christina)

Over the past 2.5 years I've spent as an intern at Merge, I've not only learned how to burn massive amounts of cds using a machine that i have more ill will towards than any human (I have since nicknamed said machine HAL), but I've also met at least two dozen other interns who have somehow enriched my life, and have taught me things you just don't learn in school. It takes a special kind of person to complete the massive mailings that are common assignments for Merge interns, but with the right company, it can be a lot of fun. I'm going to take this opportunity to highlight some of my favorite fellow interns, and today's entry is on one Sonia Aneja.

Besides the usual mailings, interns are often sent on special missions. One of the most frightening experiences of my life involved Sonia and a trip to Crate and Barrel in Raleigh to pick up some new shelves. For the task, Spott loaned us his truck, which is a stick shift. Even though I've spent my entire life in the South, I never learned how to drive a stick shift, so Sonia drove. It became quickly obvious that Sonia only sort of knew how to drive a stick shift..and at this point we were well on to the dangerous one way streets of downtown Durham. The Durham Freeway is about 1.5 miles from the Merge office, and it took us at least 20 minutes to get there that day. Here are some photos from the office to the freeway..

Once we reached the freeway, all was in control, and the shelf mission was completed successfully. To this day i refuse to get in any kind of truck.

Another thing about Sonia was that she entered the Merge office with a vocabulary unlike anyone else I've ever met. I didn't understand half the things she was saying most of the time, but what I picked up, I still use to impress people that are cooler than me. For instance, before I met Sonia, I thought the word "baller" was limited to describing someone who is really good at basketball (ie- You have to be a real baller to play for the Harlem Globetrotters). I learned from Sonia "baller" can also be used as an adjective to describe items (ie- those socks are BALLER), and also as a number. On MySpace, Sonia has BALLER friends. I've been trying to figure out how to count to baller, and I'm pretty sure it can't be done. It's the new infinity.

Sonia now works in NYC doing baller stuff for baller people.

That's it for this edition of Intern Corner

- Brian Burns aka Beebo aka The Kid

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cool Site of the Day :: The Daily Nice

Photographer Jason Evans publishes a photo a day on The Daily Nice. According to Jason, the site is about my enthusiasm for looking and being. Every day I show a photograph of something that made me happy. It's good stuff, check it out..

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Summer TV

Lindsey and I have spent the bulk of the summer moaning over the lack of good television. There are, however, a few shows that are helping us survive until the Fall season!

Project Runway
- Bravo (Wed 10pm EST)
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are our two favorite Reality TV people! Thanks to Paul for taping the show for us. Stupid Time Warner Cable only has Bravo in Carrboro - not Durham! We can't wait to listen to Tim Gunn's podcast, too!

Monk, Psych, and House - USA Network Friday nights! (9-midnight EST)
My boyfriend and I have long been Monk fans, and even dressed as Monk and Sharona for Halloween last year. I never need an excuse to stay home on Friday nights, but this line-up makes going out even more distasteful! Monk is having a great season! Psych is not the best show, but I have hopes that, although slightly annoying, the main character will grow on me. And House. Hot doctors are a radio department weakness - mmmm - can't wait for a new season of Grey's Anatomy!

Design Star- HGTV (Sun 9pm EST)
Dysfunctional designers with varying degrees of expertise make this show fun to watch! The winner gets their own show on HGTV! Lindsey has David picked to win!

Feasting on Asphalt - The Food Network (Sat 9pm EST)
Who doesn't love Alton Brown? I mean, yes, his skits can be a little painful, but Good Eats is always informative! This new show has Alton Brown riding across the country on a motorcycle. He stops in at various roadside eateries for yummy things like brain sandwiches, fresh honey, and frozen custard. mmmm.

No Reservations - The Travel Channel (Mon 10pm EST)
Anthony Bourdain is so cool! I wish I were as cool as he is. And he will eat anything! Eyeballs fresh from the seal carcass and 5 kinds of poutine were two of the questionably tasty items in the episode filmed in Montreal. Next Week (8/21), Tony and his crew show the episode they were filming in Beirut when the fighting began!

The Dog Whisperer - National Geographic Channel (Mon 9pm EST)
Cesar Millan, dog-trainer extraordinaire, shows owners how to deal with their unruly dogs. However, Lindsey and I both agree that this show is more about training owners to understand that dogs aren't people. Cesar is a genius!

So, there you have it, our little summer TV guide. We'll give you our list of fall premieres we are excited about in Early September!

Christina & Lindsey

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Eitzel Gets Gawked

or at least paraphrased ... man, that Johnny Mathis' Feet video was awesome.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

WXYC Radio show tonight featuring David Kilgour "phoning it in"

Listen in tonight from 9pm to 12mid EST on WXYC, 89.3FM in Chapel Hill. Your favorite Merge label manager will be co-hosting the show along with local fellow NZ-phile Phil Hammond. We plan on having David Kilgour on the phone with us at around 10pm EST (noon tomorrow - wha? - for him) to chat and play a few songs over the phone. The honor is totally all ours.

Here's the promotional blurb written by Phil, stolen mostly from Wikipedia.

The Thursday Night feature this week will focus on the New Zealand town Dunedin, which spawned "The Dunedin Sound". The Dunedin Sound is characterized by jangly guitars, minimal bass lines, and loose drumming. New Zealand based Flying Nun Records championed this style of music, starting with their earliest releases (including The Clean's single Tally ho! and the four-band compilation Dunedin Double EP). The heyday of the movement was in the mid-to-late 1980s, although music in the style is still being recorded and released. California's Pavement is but one overseas band that claims the Dunedin sound as a major influence. Some of the more-well known purveyors of the Dunedin sound are The Clean, The Bats, The Chills, and The Verlaines.

You can listen on the radio if you live around here (89.3 FM), or on the world wide web or via iTunes

cheers (as they say),

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I Saw The Real White Whale!

I have just returned from an extended vacation - my longest ever since grade school, really - and it's great to be back among the Mergistas. While I unfortunately did not get a chance to see WHITE WHALE while I was gone, I did get to see the menacing fellow above swimming along the side of Route 6 near Hyannis, MA. Someday, I swear, I will kill him and get my leg back...

I did have one random Merge related encounter when I ran into Magnetic Fields cellist Sam Davol at the Wellfleet Public Library. Small world.

Tonight I will see Deerhoof.

I promise if I post again in the future it will be more interesting.

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Pop quiz from Professor Art Department

This is the back of the original artwork for the front cover of one of our Fall releases. Any guesses?


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Monday, August 07, 2006

All Hail Queen Lindsey!

Just returned from the Team Clermont Prom weekend! White Whale slayed the Athens masses! Our Kickball tournament was a huge success - despite the mighty K's losing by one point to the cheater W's. And our very own, Lindsey Kronmiller was crowned queen! Our honorary Merge "big brother," Matt Morseth was crowned king! (see picture)

I stayed an extra night to see The Clientele in Atlanta. It was beautiful! Be sure to catch them this month on tour. Their new songs are fantastic! The photo is of James and Mark from the Clientele with Neko - one of the cutest dogs I know!


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Friday, August 04, 2006

I rode the Whale and I am here to say it was incredible.

Last night, we had the pleasure of having Merge freshmen, the mighty White Whale in town. Though many Mergers (and fans) had the opportunity to see them at SXSW, this was my first stampede (to borrow a phrase from the inimitable Towne Dandies) and after working with them on the album artwork for a couple months, I was eager to sample the product live and amplified. Let me tell you up front, kind listener, these fellas brought it.

Most of our bands report that playing in the Triangle feels like a hometown show. Of course, they are surrounded by the Merge family—which extends well beyond the dozen or so of us in the office—and all of the fabulous fans that this little patch of Carolina seems to breed. Within moments of arriving, they were asking after friends they have met here or elsewhere and heading toward the OCSC for icy cold beers, as if they did so every night.

The culture here is generous in supporting bands and turning out for shows, to be sure, but they are also a critical lot, especially toward a band few have seen play. It was significant, then, to witness eyes open wider, positions shift forward, and chatter cease at the Local 506 as White Whale launched into a set so full of energy, confidence, and awesomeness. There was nodding and smiling and people looking at each other with raised eyebrows and an expression that says, "Hot dog!"

While I have been digging the record ever since I first heard it, this is definitely one of those bands for whom the live performance enriches one's reception of the record in immeasurable ways. Do not, I repeat do not, miss White Whale on tour this Fall. I'm smitten.


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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Soundtrack to Your Life?

So, last week some clown(s) broke into my house and stole, amongst other things, my DVD player and my digital cable box. Don't ask me why someone would steal a cable box, but it happened. In any case, the end result being that I have not been able to watch any DVDs. But on the flipside, since I got a new cable box, I suddenly have access to virtually every movie channel on the planet. We'll see how long it takes the cable company to catch on. Or if they try to charge me for services I never ordered. Needless to say I've been watching and DVR-ing movies like crazy.

Tonight, I watched Lost In Translation for what must be, at least, the 12th time. One thing I always notice about the film is how perfect the soundtrack seems to be. Both the score by Kevin Shields and the songs that are included. Moods and ambiance are captured exquisitely. Could there be a more perfect song to end the movie than "Just Like Honey"? Gets me every time, and has me rushing to dig up my old battered copy of Psychocandy.

As it happens, last night I watched Garden State, for what was probably the 3rd or 4th time (hey, it was on).
Again, I noticed the soundtrack. I think the soundtrack to this particular film got more hype than the movie itself. If that is possible. But after watching Lost In Translation tonight, I got to thinking about the soundtracks for both movies and what they added to each film.

In my humble opinion, the Garden State soundtrack contained some great songs, but at times their use in the film seemed a bit forced or perhaps even inconsequential. It was like the "hip" factor might have made its way into the equation a little too often. Like maybe they were trying a little too hard. While the soundtrack for Lost in Translation seemed a bit more cohesive, and did a better job, in my opinion, of adding texture to the film. Hmmm?

I'm sure both filmmakers were going for the same sort of things when they choose the music for their films (and by all accounts, both Sophia Coppola and Zach Braff were very invested in the soundtracks), but for whatever reason I just identified more with Sophia's choices than Zach's. Perhaps its just a matter of my tastes lining up closer with hers. Who knows? Of course, as far as soundtracks go, these are two of the better ones in recent memory. There are plenty of gratuitous clunkers out there.

Anyway, I suppose now would be a great time to work in a plug about Merge music used in films. But I'm too tired to think of any. Besides Mac's scores for Looking For Leonard and Who Loves The Sun, of course. And though I have not seen the film, The Clientele get some prime placement in the opening credits of the latest Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock vehicle, The Lake House. Beyond that I'm at a loss at the moment.

Maybe tomorrow I'll come back and list a bunch of them. Maybe not.
Until then feel free to list some of your favorites in the comments.

Good night and good luck,


(If you have not heard it yet, you should check out Mac's podcast on the making of the Who Loves The Sun score, and some of his favorite film scores. There is a direct link to the podcast from the Merge homepage.)

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