Merge 25k Road Race
We like Merge Records. The North Carolina independent record label is celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2014, by re-issuing classic albums from their back catalog every month in 2014. Some of these re-issues are long out of print and they'll usually throw in bonus material with the new releases. (Although they confessed Merge employees just want to own them on vinyl).
Lambchop: Nixon (reissue)
Also, according to Merge 25, there will be a unique road race that stretches 25km (15.5 miles), holding on Saturday, March 22, 2014, at Chapel Hill, NC. This is a point-to-point race of its kind, benefiting the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and Habitat for Humanity of Durham and Orange County while also marking Merge Records' 25 years. If you live in the area, or are willing to travel, please register now at SportOften.com.
Below are just some of the artists signed to Merge Records:
Photo credit: Facebook
As I have previously written, I first discovered Mary Timony's band Helium on MTV's 120 Minutes for "XXX". I loved it, the singing, the subject matter, the dark sexual lyrics...
Mary Timony at 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis (05/25/05)
Anyway, I'm pretty excited to report that Mary Timony is back, with Betsy Wright and Laura Harris, in their new band is called Ex Hex. Timony fans will note that the band's name is actually taken from one of Timony's album of the same name.
Ex Hex, from Washington DC, is currently signed to Merge Records. Look for their debut album (and a tour around that SXSW Festival in March) in 2014.
Photo by Natasha Tylea
Wye Oak will be returning in 2014 with a brand new yet-untitled album from Merge Records, the follow-up to their 2011's Civilian.
Singer Jenn Wasner talked to Spin Magazine about the new album, saying "There's not a lick of guitar on this whole record. It basically inverts what we were responsible for. Andy [Stack] was playing droney bass lines on keyboard. Now he's responsible for the more upper register stuff that guitar would normally handle, while I'm playing bass lines on a bass guitar. The idea was really appealing to me because we had sort of hit a wall, just with the complete and total excess of touring that we had done, the use and overuse of that format. It tainted the guitar for me and I was finding it really, really hard to get anything out of it from a writing perspective. I wasn't excited about it — too much baggage. It just felt tired to me."
As a warm-up, Jenn & Andy will be doing a co-headlining tour with Future Islands, on their way to Austin, Texas, for SXSW 2014.
Mar 04 Asheville, NC — Orange Peel
Mar 05 Saxapahaw, NC — Haw River Ballroom
Mar 07 Chattanooga, TN — JJ's Bohemia
Mar 08 Oxford, MS — Proud Larry's
Mar 09 Baton Rouge, LA — Spanish Moon
*all shows with Future Islands
I saw Hospitality at the now-defunct 400 Bar last year, and I noted that they played "almost every song from their [debut] album". They're back on tour, but this time they'll have additional songs from their new album Trouble, that they can add to their setlist. Unlike their fun/happier debut album, Trouble is said to have a darker sound overall. The new album is coming out January 28th on Merge Records.
Hospitality will be out on tour:
Feb 01 Washington, DC — Rock & Roll Hotel
Feb 04 Chicago, IL — Schubas
Feb 05 Minneapolis, MN — 7th Street Entry
Feb 08 Seattle, WA — Barboza
Feb 09 Portland, OR — Doug Fir Lounge
Feb 11 San Francisco, CA — Rickshaw Stop
Feb 13 Los Angeles, CA — The Echo
Feb 14 San Diego, CA — Soda Bar
Feb 15 Phoenix, AZ — Pub Rock w/ Augustines
Feb 17 Austin, TX — Red 7
Feb 18 Dallas, TX — City Tavern
Feb 21 Atlanta, GA — 529
Feb 22 Carrboro, NC — Cat's Cradle (Back Room)
Feb 23 Charlottesville, VA — The Southern
Mar 01 New York, NY — Music Hall of Williamsburg