Friday, September 29, 2006

RICHARD BUCKNER TOUR DIARY ("Incoherencies") - Entry #6

9/19 – Boston, MA

Got up early to get my broken window replaced in Albany before leaving for Boston and an incoming storm.

And Boston...Take a map, rip it up, throw it into the air: where it lands is the street layout of a town that overturns cars whether or not their team wins or loses. Sprinkle with scraps of LL Bean khakis and blue button-ups. Played a small stage in a club steeped in folk traditionalism: i.e., loops and e-bows need not apply. Driving out of Boston, you feel like a cockroach trapped between someone’s giant hands, and every turn you make, the hands move and you’re lost again. You just wanna turn over on your shell and kick your legs up into the clammy air.

9/20 – New York, NY

NYC / Bowery Ballroom-lovely sound and nice professional club and crew. You feel so welcome and secure until you step out on the street watching for gear-rippers, parking meter soldiers, and the grand-theft-auto-style drive to Brooklyn. Load the equipment in at 3am, and load back out at 8am.

9/21 – Washington, DC

Got to DC early for an XM Radio interview with Bob Edwards. He’s quite a presence: sat quietly as Doug and I set up our stuff, then made for an easy, enjoyable talk. Then, to the IOTA in Arlington, VA: I’ve been playing there since my first tour. Usually stay at a strange motel down the street where sometimes there are people in bathrobes in the lobby, but it’s an easy walk to the club and there’s a place next door for ugly, yet satisfying drunky after-hours food(?)-ish.

9/22 – Chapel Hill, NC

Chapel Hill/Local 506: Good rock club - easy hang. Didn’t get my shrimp and grits at Crook’s Corner this time, though.

9/23 – Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC / Grey Eagle: The LSD mountain fog was really rolling down the hills tonight. It’s always a little weird in Asheville, but good. Tonight it was a little stranger, though. Even the pavement felt strange driving around. Saw two different vehicles with either missing or open doors while driving odd patterns. A health food market with an agro-flute blower marking the entrance with some super-loud (louder than I thought a bamboo flute could ever be) hippie/eastern melody. The merch table reported that football-player-ish guy came in looking for gumbo and asking about shotguns.

At the hotel, people milled about without shirts, one guy with just a towel as he dug through his car for something.

9/24 – Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, GA / Variety Playhouse. I was the oldest person on the stage tonight; by even double, I think.

9/25 – Off Day

Day off in the ATL; got my shrimp and grits. Later, for old times sake, a yacht dog, and much later, the Claremont Lounge, just to be complete.


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Dashboard Confessional Loves Merge!

MTV asked Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carraba to be a "guest music supervisor" for an upcoming episode of Laguna Beach. The songs Carrabba selected are "Ageless Beauty" by Stars, "This Isn't Farmlife" by Essex Green, "Lloyd I'm Ready to be Heartbroken" by Camera Obscura and "Pin Your Wings" by Copeland.

We hope that Kendra and Tessa don't have a cat fight while listening to our music! Maybe a nice beach montage? Or a gratuitous dude-with-no-shirt-on shot?

More info and an interview with Carraba here.


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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Merge Media Overload!

M. Ward and Lambchop are taking over your Radio and Television airwaves today!

Listen & Watch!

First up, M. Ward will visit his friends at KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic for a live session + interview. Airing Live Today at 11:15 PST/2:15 EST.

Next, Lambchop will be perform at KEXP in Seattle today at Noon PST/3pm EST. Listen Live. And if you miss it, you can find the streaming archives here.

And much later tonight, M. Ward and his kick-ass band will be on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight at 12:35 am EST.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

M. Ward on XM Radio

Attention XM Radio subscribers! Listen to M. Ward on Channel 133 today. Matt visited The Bob Edwards Show for a little chat while he was touring the East Coast.

For those non-NPR junkies out there, Bob Edwards was the host of NPR's Morning Edition for 25 years before moving to the satellite radio world.

The show will be broadcast today (9/27) at 10am EST, 8pm EST and tomorrow (9/28) morning at 7am EST.


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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Roddy Bottum scores with Ted Danson

If you are looking for something amusing to watch on the boob tube this evening, tune into ABC at 9:30pm for the series premiere of Help Me Help You. Why are we pimping a Ted Danson vehicle on the Merge blog? Well, it just so happens that Mr. Roddy Bottum of Imperial Teen composed the score for the show, and along with Anna Waronker (That Dog/solo) serves as music supervisor for the series. I can't speak to the content of the show, but Roddy says that it's very smart and funny. At the very least the music should be cool.

Tune in and check it out for yourself.


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M. Ward gets the Backstage Pass treatment on MTVU this week. Check out the interview, live footage, and Matt's answers to fan questions here.

Also, as part of MTVU's Spankin' Free Music Week, the track Chinese Translation, from M. Ward's latest CD Post-War, will be available for download, FREE, all day on Wednesday - 9/27/06. Just click here for your free download.

Spread the word.


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Monday, September 25, 2006

Lambchop Lovin'

Lambchop is on tour, and as Martin pointed out in his blog post, it's just not to be missed!

I gathered up some of the great press and radio happening around this tour. Enjoy!


Philadelphia Inquirer Feature.
Toronto Globe & Mail Interview with Kurt & Willy.
Newsday Live review of the NYC show.
WNYC's Soundcheck - Live performance & chat with Kurt.

Lambchop will be on KEXP Seattle this Thursday - 9/28 at Noon PST/3pm EST. Listen Live

And if you missed the great NPR story that inspired "Paperback Bible" - listen here!

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The new Portastatic CD, Be Still Please, is now streaming from the Merge homepage. Take an advance listen and feel free to let us know what you think.

CD will be released on 10/10/06.

Pre-order here.

Upcoming tour dates here.


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There's a great Camera Obscura feature up on Pitchfork today.
Tracyanne Campbell chats with Brian Howe about touring in the U.S. and Europe, John Peel, the Glasgow scene, her fear of bugs that bite and much, much more.

Check it out here.


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Friday, September 22, 2006

An Evening to Remember

Ok. Yes. I should have posted this sooner. But to be honest I've been having trouble putting it all into words.

On Tuesday night we, along with 600 hundred or so of our closest friends, were treated to an evening of music that holds no equal in recent memory. The Cat's Cradle was packed to the gills for a mini-Mergefest: Portastatic; Lambchop and M. Ward. I doubt I could ever muster the words to aptly describe the awe, excitement and pride I felt as I watched these three bands put on performances that simply had my mind, my body, my heart and my soul reeling. It was one of those nights you never forget. One of those nights that helps remind me why I do what I do.

Portastatic kicked things off in high form with Mac and Margaret doing stripped down versions of songs old and new alike. But soon they were joined onstage by a revolving cast of musicians that seemed to turn each successive song into it's own little universe. M. Ward finished the night off with an incredibly rocking set that had my jaw on the floor. I had the same reaction the first time I saw Matt onstage, alone with his guitar, 4 years ago. This time the tenor and energy was completely different, but no less engaging, as he and his stunning band ripped and roared through a set that seemed to leave the crowd exhausted but elated, wringing every ounce of energy from the room.

Both Portastatic and M. Ward were stunning and either set on their own would have been in the top 5 shows I've seen all year. But the main purpose of my post here today is to try to tell you about Lambchop, whose performance on this night was so powerful that I almost found myself moved to tears...

(CONTINUED: Click on jump to permalink below to read more)

You almost never know what you are going to get in a Lambchop performance. How many people are going to be onstage? (I've seen performances with anywhere from 5 to 18 band members) Will it swing you like an R&B revival, or sooth you like a lullaby? Will Kurt Wagner actually stand up at some point (I've seen this happen exactly twice in 13 years)? The one constant always seems to be the quality of the performance. On this cool September evening in Carrboro, NC they managed to exceed already high expectations.

Tuesday's performance featured 8 Choppers, with the Tosca String Quartet bringing the total number of musicians on the crowded Cat's Cradle stage to 12. The thing that always amazes about Lambchop is that all those people can blend so seamlessly together, presenting layer upon layer of sound that draws you in as you try to enjoy every intricate nuance, every flourish. Playing a healthy dose of songs from Damaged, as well as digging into the treasure chest for a few golden nuggets, the band was tight and on point all night long. The Tosca String Quartet added a dimension that we don't always get here in the States but that European audiences have probably grown spoiled by. I know I could get spoiled by it in a hurry.

All in all I can't recall a more powerful night of live music in my recent experience.

Lambchop is heading through the northeast this weekend with shows tonight in Boston (Paradise Club), tomorrow night in Montreal (Le National) and Sunday night in Toronto (Mod Club).

Portastatic ends their stint opening for M. Ward with shows tonight in Denton, TX (Haileys) and tomorrow night in Austin (The Parrish), while M. Ward heads westward on the final leg his tour.

Me? I'm off to see Richard Buckner / Eric Bachmann tonight, and will probably get blown away all over again.

If you have the chance to check out any of these shows in the next week or so, I couldn't recommend them more.

Lambchop tour dates HERE.

M. Ward tour dates HERE.

Portastatic tour dates HERE

Richard Buckner tour dates HERE.

White Whale tour dates HERE.


(photo courtesy of Enid Valu)

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

More Buckner

Casey Burns did this poster for the Buckner/Bachmann show at Local 506 on Friday night. Considering the grizzly tales in the tour diary, I thought it was perfect!

Check here to see if Richard Buckner, road warrior, is coming to your town!

Photos from last night's Bowery show are here, and a great feature in the Riverfront Times is here!

And of course, you can order the oh-so-fantastic new record, Meadow, Here!


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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

RICHARD BUCKNER TOUR DIARY ("Incoherencies") - Entry #5

9/12 – Tuesday – The Road

A growing summer cold and 700 miles ended up in a Jamestown, ND overpriced Days Inn; the building apparently had recently suffered a stroke. Dinner was Arby’s from a Goth girl who wanted to go home early, but couldn’t because we came in. She let us know this through kitchen conversation and rolling eyes as we ordered.

9/13 – Wednesday – Minneapolis, MN

Made it to St. Paul, MN for an early afternoon live public radio performance (photos of Garrison K abound), Jiffy Lubed, then got to the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis for a polite folded chair crowd, and later, for a, thankfully, non-descript Red Roof Inn.

9/14 – Thursday – Chicago, IL

Got to Chicago in time to do laundry before sound check. It was a two-show night at Schuba’s. The lovely Sally Timms made an appearance, and then rode off into the night on a mountain bike. 3:30 am, after getting lost briefly, made it to an outskirt-downtrodden inn surrounded by all-night Check-Cashing services doing a brisk business for such a late hour.

9/15 – Friday – Kalamazoo, MI

Oh Michigan: Your gifts are appreciated and possibly even deserved. After a 2-year absence via boycott ala pointlessius pathetico, I landed, running.

As soon as we pulled outta the Lisle, IL Hotel, a rock-spitting semi gave the green bitch a black eye: a cracked, but still working headlight, held together w/ a paste of humidity-dew and insect carcasses...

(CONTINUED: click on jump to permalink below for more tales from the road)

I’d Map Quested directions to a studio for an interview on Acoustic Cafe in Ann Arbor. It led us past schools, to a wooded neighborhood. We pulled into the driveway of a cute secluded house. We didn’t get outta the truck, but watched as a dog inside the house went nuts barking, and a small boy came out, looked at us (“us” meaning 4 hours of sleep per night for two weeks, unshaven, sunglasses, looking lost), then ran back inside. Something wasn’t right. I called the interviewer, Rob.

He asked where we were. I gave him the address. "You’re at my house."

Somehow, I’d gotten it wrong. He gave us another address and directions to the real location. We got there late, but it went off fine. I apologized for probably creeping out his child and pet & offered to pay for therapy during his teenage years, should the memory persist.

As a child in Marysville, CA, there was a neighborhood window peeper whose figure I saw one night outside the window above my bed. I rolled outta the sheets slowly, crawled to my closet and got out my junior 410 shotgun and slept in the hallway. I hope my image, to Rob’s boy, doesn’t stay in the same. I didn’t see the child grab for a gun.

After the taped interview, we turned around for Kalamazoo. Detoured through Jackson (home of the Nuge, his bow-hunting world headquarters - hunting gear, deer jerky, Nuge cassettes and fashion wear - and fitness center). We thought we’d hit our room on the way to the Kraftbrau Brewery show, check in quick and keep going. This was not to be.

Evidently, the first thing 62 year-old men do upon the first day of retirement is purchase a ZZ Top Car Kit. This particular weekend at the Battle Creek, MI, Motel 6, they, in new beards, descended for a gathering of cars in various stages of completion -- evidently part of the newly retired uniform, making bad u-turns in the parking lot and telling me to just drive around them.

Checked in, brought the bags up to the room, opened the door. I heard Doug say "Oh no". I saw empty food containers and used beds. Went downstairs and came back w/ the key to the next room over. Beds were made, so we brought the bags in.

The first thing I always do when I get in any hotel room is pull the bedspread and blanket down so that I and any of my possessions only touch the sheets. This particular bed-pull, though, exposed first, the blanket which held something close to dried cookie dough formations. The maid and manager, now familiar with me, were outside the first room, looking in. I brought the blanket to them.

"I think there’s something human on this…" They looked at me. "...Not mine."

"We’ll bring you another one."


I went back inside and decided to pull back the top sheet. It was a vast field of various length hairs and meal remnant designs.

After another trip to the front desk, we got our last room key of the day. Everything checked out with a physical inspection. In fact, we were so pleased with how clean the room was, we decided to ignore the aroma: imagine truck stop aftershave, mixed w/ post-asparagus urine, and a hint of burned butter. At this particular Motel 6, at this point in the tour, this is an exceptional outcome.

9/16 – Saturday – Toronto, ON

In Toronto tonight, my summer cold slapped me in the face. Had to cut the set a little short when my body began rejecting me. Drove outside of town to the hotel amidst night flies driving through their drunken Indy 500.

9/17 – Sunday – Montreal, PQ

Got to Montreal. Found the promoter, Phillipe. Went to the car to start loading in and discovered that during the 5 minutes between finding Phillipe and going back to the car, someone had broken out my back window and taken my cell phone and passport. But this thrilled me: they hadn’t taken, only inches away, mucho tour cash & instruments. My cell phone was ready to die and my passport had my photo, which held me looking like a greasy, long-haired death valley terrorist w/ something evil/republican on his mind: imagine a repressed Bush appointee with a tan, on a shoe polish bender. I actually felt like I'd been given a chance to start over. Some stupid Montreal junkie doesn’t know what he/she missed. After filing a Canadian police report, and canceling the show, we headed back toward the States for repairs and a celebration of what didn’t get ripped, but easily could’ve. Crossing the border, back into the States, the immigration officer was completely unsympathetic. Told us to just keep going. On the way to a hotel in Plattsburg NY, Doug mentioned that bad things come in threes:

1. Flat tire in New Mexico.

2. Lost prescription sunglasses in San Diego.

3. Summer Cold

4. My final Canadian rip-off trip:

*1999 - Vancouver, BC club, post-show, non-payment.
*2000 - Vancouver, BC daytime truck break-in, where my all-time favorite nylon string guitar (1950’s Gibson w/ inlaid mother of pearl crosses on the bridge) and a cheap, but great, Danelectro were snagged.
*Brain cells lost at the Black Dog in the fog of Edmonton, Alberta (actually lost over a period of 4 1/2 years).
*2006 - Montréal break in

This actually puts me one ahead. I think I’m owed one.

Secretly, I have a feeling payback may be in the form of Merge Records crowning me artist of the month and awarding me a trophy, formed from BBQ and topped w/ slaw, in the shape of an e-bow smoking a cigarette.

Normally, I think that awards are for suckers, but I feel like I have this one coming.

9/18 – Day Off

My first day off without having to drive all day was spent tying up loose ends in a post office, a bank, and a Kinko’s in upstate New York.


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Friday, September 15, 2006


Thank you Touch and Go Records for a spectacular weekend!

I had the great good fortune to travel to Chicago last weekend (September 8-10) and catch almost all of the Touch and Go Records 25th Anniversary celebration, hosted by The Hideout (at their Tenth anniversary block party) in a huge parking lot usually occupied by the City of Chicago's Garbage Trucks. Touch & Go has been a business partner, a mentor and a friend with Merge for as long as we've been a label, and it's hard to imagine where we'd be without their influence.

Friday night's set was supposedly amazing with Girls Against Boys performing the whole Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby album, and reportedly great sets from Ted Leo, Supersystem, Shipping News and !!!, but alas I was across town at Chicago's beautiful Metro catching an incendiary set from Merge's own M. Ward! There will be time enough to write about how phenomenal M. Ward is live and how fantastic his current backing band is after next week's show at the Cat's Cradle. I'll also have to devote a post to all the great places we ate in Chicago like Irazu, a place so good, M. Ward asked me to bring him two burritos from there for after his show...but right now I'm talking about Touch and Go.

Simply said the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary celebration was the best organized music festival I've ever attended. The level of planning for this three day event was superb. Each band was on and off the stage at their scheduled time; there was a surfeit of food and drink vendors with decent prices and fast friendly service (and one who astutely served hot apple cider to a chilled and damp Sunday evening crowd); AND there were virtually no lines at the Porta-Potties. You tell me what music festival can boast any one of those bragging rights?

Chcago was slightly overcast and threatening rain on Saturday and people could have stayed home, but with the promise of a Big Black reunion and the return of David Yow to the stage with his pre-Jesus Lizard band, Scratch Acid, the crowds poured into Wabansia Avenue throughout the day and grew to 7,000 strong before it was all over. From the very first hushed notes of The New Year to an absolutely bone-crushing set by Shellac to the final horn blasts from Calexico, Saturday and Sunday were days for music fans to celebrate just how influential and important Touch & Go is; how vital they are today and how much of today's "underground" music AND "alternative" rock music, would not exist without the roadmap they laid out so long ago. I could write for days about how great every band I saw was and how much love and respect flowed from the stage as each band thanked Corey Rusk for bringing great music to people since 1981. But mere words can't do justice to the whole event. So in my longwinded way, I will try to keep the rest short...

The biggest musical highlight of the weekend for me was The Ex whose late afternoon set on Saturday, underneath a steel grey Chicago sky with the Sears Tower looming in the background, was a perfect representation of everything that Touch & Go stands for. Adjectives fail here, but The Ex's breathtaking performance was by turns abrasive, confrontational, mature, political, youthful, sweet, punk-rock, artistic and tuneful. Other highlights for me were The New Year's hushed set to start things off on Saturday morning; The Black Heart Procession (whose brooding music was enhanced by the early evening storm clouds rolling away from the city as the temperature dropped); Coco Rosie (who were the biggest surprise for me since I'd not been a great fan of their records); Pinback (the only band to give a shout out across the parking lot to the soundchecking band on the other stgage when Rob Crow yelled "Hey Calexico, we're looking forward to it!"); and Calexico's final tribute to not only Touch and Go, but to the city of Chicago - where they were the last of thirty bands to proclaim from the stage that Touch and Go was "The Best Record Label on The Planet." I may cede this honor to Touch and Go for now (and Man or Astroman claimed "best in the galaxy" honors for T&G, but couldn't definitively give them "best in the universe" status), but I like to think that Merge is closing in on them...

Seriously, thank you for EVERYTHING Touch and Go.
-Paul C.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

SUPERCHUNK to Rock The Daily Show's 10 Yr Anniversary

That's right, you heard it here third (or fourth, or fifth) - the cat definitely escaped from the bag quite easily...bags are not what they used to be.

But finally, straight from the source - IT'S OFFICIAL!!! - Superchunk will be rockin' NYC on November 16th for the Daily Show's 10th Anniversary concert at Irving Plaza. You can check the official news item here for all the details as we have them.
We will update you if/when more info is available.

Should be an amazing night.


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M. Ward stopped by WNYC in New York today for an interview on Soundcheck with host John Schaefer.

You can listen to the interview here.


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Flowers from The Brokedown

Hi Merge Folks!

Enclosed are some special flowers that Ross' girlfriend's Uncle Stefan grows on a mountainside in Maui. They're called Proteas, and they're native to South Africa. Hope you enjoy them and we can't wait to see y'all in New York!

The Brokedown

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Robert Pollard's new CD, Normal Happiness, is now streaming from the Merge homepage.

Woo hoo!

Release date is 10/10/06.

Pre-order here.


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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RICHARD BUCKNER TOUR DIARY ("Incoherencies") - Entry #4

9/6 – Wednesday - Chico, CA

Chico CA swirled around us with no help from the ground. Afterwards, lilies from my past appeared, rising like beer bottles outta the snow after an unexpected winter melt.

9/7 – Thursday - Eugene, OR

Woke up to C-Span coverage of Congress addressing the most important issue on American minds: a ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption. Minimum wage debate, war crimes, the joke of the 4th amendment... its all so yesterday. Yelled at the TV, then got in the truck.

Said it before; lets say it again: Eugene, OR --- never again.

Hackysack-brained hippies --- about 10 of them came to see the show; somewhere in the woods, conservatives, and in the streets, urchins in torn black hoodies, acting homeless, but probably going home at night to their once-hippie-but-now-LL Bean-parents.

Last time I played at Wow Hall (the alleged venue), the sound-dude was on acid and ruined any chance of a show before the crowd turned on me, and, I, in turn, turned on them. What a waste of a beautiful place.

Oh, yeah...and we didn’t get paid, either. The hobby continues.

(CONTINUED: Jump to permalink below for entries from 9/8 - 9/11)

9/8 – Friday - Portland, OR

Doug Fir Lounge in Portland. Willy from Richmond Fontaine gave me a copy of his beautiful new book. He’s the only person that I trust from Reno, NV.

9/9 – Saturday - Seattle, WA

Sparse much playing around town tonight...Devo, The Zombies, Silver Jews...

Got some supermarket sushi from an angry Japanese man working at a kiosk in the fruit section. I guess I’d be mad, too. All I wanted was a little more wasabe...

9/10 – Sunday – Vancouver, BC

Got up early to play a live set at KEXP not far from the Space Needle Travelodge. There was a Trekkie convention at the needle, but I saw no Klingons. Drove to Bellingham, just below the border, to leave our merch at a Motel 6. Taking it into Canada is impossible. After a merciful and pleasant immigration officer, we made our way to Richard’s on Richards in Vancouver, BC. Didn’t get any guitars ripped off for a change --- only a few skeevy junkies tried to bother us, but I was in no mood, and made them aware of this as plainly and firmly as I could. Funny and talented sound staff made the show easy. Broke a string, made some noise, then drove back to Bellingham, WA after the show.

9/11 – Monday - Travel Day

4 hours of sleep, then off towards Minneapolis. The truck turned over 450,000 miles. Ended up in Deer Lodge, MT. Super scummy town filled w/ close-eyed cranky (literally) honkies. There’s an old frontier prison here that I that checked out a few years ago with gallows and everything --- oh, yeah, and a car museum of sorts.

We got here late, so we had to stay at the lowest of them all: Super8 --- always overpriced and soul sucking. The desk clerk was not happy that I needed a room. I think I’d interrupted her trying to eat her 20th potato of the day. Or, she might’ve just been distracted, thinking about what a bad tattoo she had on her cleavage. No real restaurants were open, so I had to have my second McDonald’s salad of the day. We walked across the road from the hotel to the McD’s. Outside, there was a skinny, shirtless skinhead standing on the hood of his car. Inside, behind the register, was a boy/man hocking up something from deep within as we ordered our meals (?). America the beautiful.

How many cracker-assed birth canal towns can there be? America the bottomless.


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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Preorder Madness!

October 10th releases!

Portastatic - Be Still Please
Portastatic Bundle - Be Still Please w/ Who Loves the Sun

The first 50 people who pre-order Be Still Please from will receive an 11 song CD of Be Still Please demos and outtakes autographed by Mac McCaughan! The first 25 pre-orders will ALSO receive a set of four Portastatic Be Still Please beer coasters! ALL pre-orders will include a Be Still Please poster!

Also, check out the Portastatic online-only Sour Shores EP (more on the Portastatic Blog)! A fantastic way to bide your time until Be Still Please arrives...

Robert Pollard
- Normal Happiness
Pollard Bundle - Normal Happiness w/ From a Compound Eye (CD & LP bundles!)

Orders for Normal Happiness will include at absolutely NO ADDITIONAL COST (while supplies last):

MOON - ROBERT POLLARD LIVE -A 15 track disc featuring Robert Pollard and the Ascended Masters (Tommy Keene, Jon Wurster, Jason Narducy & Dave Philips) live at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati Ohio - June 24 2006. The show was part of a two day opening stint for Pearl Jam.


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Friday, September 08, 2006

RICHARD BUCKNER TOUR DIARY ("Incoherencies") - Entry #3

9/2 - Saturday:

Left El Paso. About 150 miles towards Tucson, the road started feeling dreamy/rubbery, like I’d taken too many Actifed. We pulled over: Flat tire.

Cell phone worked. AAA said it would be 2 1/2 hours for a tow to the next town. A New Mexico State Trooper pulled up behind us. The trooper said he knew of a place that would take 30 minutes for $250. AAA called back and put me in touch with Pete's Tire in Lordsburg NM, so the cop took off, and we waited by the side of the road with huge ants and bits of wrecks and debris.

Vernon pulled up in a black dodge ram 350 with, in the place of a front license plate: If it has tits or wheels it’ll give you problems. He put on a new tire, and then we followed him into Lordsburg, end of town. We drove over a meridian, onto a dirt road, to a landing by the freeway with three mobile homes, four doors on each side with numbers, a reused mobile motel with boarded-up windows. Around the complex were piles of blown tires, a purple Freightline semi, a corroded 80s Chevy van, a Camaro, a U-haul open trailer, a forklift, and a few more highway tire repair trucks. Vernon went to work installing and balancing the two new back tires, then we were back on the road. Got to Tucson just in time for post-traumatic-truck- disorder margaritas. Did the show --- all on Tucson’s special brand of time and space.

Turns out Eric Bachmann’s van broke down in Moab, UT. Couldn’t make it to the first night of our tour.

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9/3 - Sunday:

Bachmann showed up in San Diego in a U-haul bobtail straight from Las Vegas the night/morning before.

Onstage, Doug and I were accompanied by an industrial fan, talented in removing that annoying noise coming from the stage monitors – ME - an unintentional Jesus and Mary Chain effect. Later, at a Motel 6, a man in the elevator, recently escaped from his overbearing wife, showed me the sunburned front of his legs as small talk. I thought of offering him the Cholula hot sauce that I carry with me, for his backleg hot wings. I kept my mouth shut.

9/4 - Monday

L.A.: Two letters too many. As a child of northern California, I was trained not to venture below Kern County. I never learn.

9/5 - Tuesday

Drove to Bakersfield after the L.A. show. 3 hours later, woke up to drive to Fresno for a 10am interview. Had to pass Zingo’s (Buck Owens Blvd and Hwy 99) --- one of my favorite truckstop/lounges. Chicken fried steak and eggs of unimaginable perfection. Last time I was there, in May or June, Doug and I walked in, found a table. As soon as we sat down, the baby in the next booth went nuts, screaming/freaking out. We decided to move and got up. A waitress approached us:


"We’re just gonna move away from the baby."

"Well, it was just circumcised..."

"Okay. Then were moving away from the circumcision."

She just looked at us; the joke was lost in white gravy. I wondered, if I ever became a father, if I would take my new son to a truckstop for a celebration after his special snipping. Inconclusive: The chicken fried steak is very, very, very good.

Made it to SF for the super nice people at the Swedish American Hall. After the show, drove to Vacaville for a full 6 hours of sleep, waking in the morning to the sounds in the next room of someone removing their lungs one hork-of-phlegm at a time.


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The Rosebuds rock cookout, debut new songs

Down here, what many of us know as a barbeque is actually a cookout. And barbeque is - well, delicious pork, not customarily consumed at a cookout. If it is cooked and consumed at a cookout, however, it's called a pig-pickin'. And you eat barbeque, but you will see befuddled faces if you refer to the event as a barbeque. It's enough to make a former midwesterner's head spin. That is, until the first forkful of eastern North Carolina barbeque, tangy with vinegar and hickory smoke, hits the palate like a birthday present.

Well, the pictured concern was a cookout where, in fact, nothing was cooked, but barbeque (prepared elsewhere) was consumed from giant foil platters, alongside the customary collard greens, hushpuppies, beans, and sweet tea. This makes for a lot of very happy people who get happier yet when Ivan and Kelly assume their positions and treat the assembled backyard crew to lots of old Rosebuds faves and some *rocking* new glimpses into their next record, due out early next year.

Ladies and gentleman, put on your psyched faces because the Rosebuds have clearly been tending to more than just their tomatoes this summer.

-The Art Dept.

photo by Zoë

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M. Ward on KEXP - Live from Chicago!

Our friends from KEXP are broadcasting live from Chicago this weekend! M. Ward will be dropping by today at 11am PST/1pm CST/2pm EST. Listen live at KEXP

ETA: M. Ward's performance was great! Listen to the streaming archive HERE.

Be sure to check out who else they have dropping in this weekend, too. I heard Catfish Haven this morning and they were very loud and energetic for 9am!


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Thursday, September 07, 2006

PORTASTATIC to release digital-only EP

The new Portastatic full length, Be Still Please will be released on October 10th, but you can get a bit of sneak preview starting next week. On Tuesday, September 12th, the Sour Shores EP will be released exclusively via the interweb. This will be a digital-only release, so now might be a good time to upgrade from that dial-up account.

Sour Shores will be available from all of your favorite legit download sites (iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, etc) as well as directly from the Merge website. The EP includes one track from the new album, "Sour Shores" (album and demo versions), as well as two bonus tracks not available on the full length.

You can read all about it from the man himself over at the Portastatic blog.

Check it out.


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Superchunk and Tenement Halls played a show last Friday night at The Cat's Cradle to celebrate Orange County Social Club's 5 yr anniversary. Everyone who was there will have to agree that it was one of the best Superchunk shows ever, and Tenement Halls debuted some new songs!

Here is a snippet of Precision Auto with a great shot of Mac's windmill! It was great to see bunches of out-of-towners in the "Pogo Pit!"


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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

David Cross's Butt Cheeks at Spoon Performance

Spoon had a special guest in seattle at Bumbershoot this past weekend.


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Saturday, September 02, 2006

RICHARD BUCKNER TOUR DIARY ("Incoherencies") - Entry #2

8/31/06 - Texas

Got to Dan's Silverleaf in Denton TX. They had food waiting for us: meatloaf with jalapenos, garlic soup with jalapenos, and an apple crisp with jalapenos. Tasty and disturbed.

9/1/06 - Texas

Drove 640 miles to El Paso TX. huge storm. Red Roof Inn. Checked in and chased a feral kitten around the parking lot. Let a Grey Goose chase me around my room.


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Friday, September 01, 2006

M. WARD - "Chinese Translation" (video)

If you have not had a chance yet, check out M. Ward's brand new video - "Chinese Translation" from Post-War.

Directed By: Joel Trussell & Eric Johnson
Animators: Gene Blakefield & Darin Bendall


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All Hail The Broken West!!

It's always exciting welcoming a new member into the Merge family, and we are down right giddy about our latest signees The Broken West. Based out of LA, The Broken West will be releasing their debut CD, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On on January 23, 2006.

The Broken West will be joining us in NYC for our CMJ showcase over the first weekend in November (more details to come).

But don't just take our word for it, read all about it here:

SIX EYES (interview)

Pitchfork (news item)

Billboard (news item)


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Teenage Fanclub cover "Mr. Tambourine Man"

A fun little track to help your Friday speed into the holiday weekend!

(Thanks to Bruce from Some Velvet Blog for the link)

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Intern Corner #2: How To Eat A Burrito With Dignity OR The Man Who Loved Burrito

Usually on the days I come in to Merge, Wilson and I end the day at Cosmic Cantina. For those not in the know, Cosmic is home to the cheapest burritos in the universe, and also one of our favorite characters in the land of 1,000 Characters. No matter what day of the week we end up going in, we are guaranteed to see the man we have named Big Papa Burrito (or the BPB when we don't have time to say Big Papa Burrito). The BPB is big on fantasy novels, and we're pretty sure lives on a steady diet of burritos. What's even more interesting is the way he eats his burritos. BPB has class, unlike the rest of us savages who eat our burritos with our hands. He uses a fork and knife, dissecting the tortilla and going straight for the good stuff. I'm really not going anywhere with this, I just thought BPB deserved some recognition. There are few things in life you can depend on. For me, there's the atomic clock, and then the fact that when Wilson and I go in to Cosmic, BPB will be there, eating his burrito with a fork, and reading a book with a wizard or a princess on the cover.
-Brian Burns/Beebo

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