I felt that I would take a brief respite from my hiatus to point out that tomorrow, January 11, 2009 is the deadline for signing up for the SCORE! Merge Records 20th Anniversary Box Set. The cost is $199 and if I had that kind of disposable income, I would buy this in a second. That said, if anyone wants to give me a late-breaking Christmas or early-breaking birthday present, this would be it. It is cool that they give you a box so that you have a place to store all of the stuff they give you, which totals these goodies:
-14 "best of Merge artists" mix CDs by various celebrities
-1 remix CD
-1 covers CD
-1 comedy CD
-1 coffee table book of all Merge album covers
-1 box to hold all of this stuff
-also downloadable content, such as the latest Superchunk bootleg show in their "clambake" series.
The only thing missing is a Merge t-shirt.
I don't expect any rich person to swoop in and ask me what my mailing address is for no good reason, but I wanted to write about this because I believe that Merge is, pretty consistently, one of the greatest record labels ever. They are right alongside Matador and Sub Pop and Touch & Go, and they perhaps eclipse K, Dischord, and SST. They are holding a festival the same way that Touch & Go and Sub Pop have for their anniversary years. For those of you unaware of who may play this festival, I will offer my dream line-up for this event. It promises to be one of the premiere musical gatherings of 2009. It is from July 22-26, 2009, so hardcore indie rockers will probably be able to go to the Pitchfork Festival (assuming it will happen again this year, and I would be shocked and disappointed if it didn't) and then return to Chicago for Lollapalooza right after. Then a month later they could go to New York for All Tomorrow's Parties. This, of course, is way later than Coachella, and who knows whether that gathering will prove more appealing than last year. I might just have to return to L.A. if it does. (Ed. Sadly, though Coachella will happen to take place over my birthday weekend, and would make for a wonderful gift to myself--particularly since both Morrissey and a Pavement reunion are rumored as headliners--I will be spending my 26th birthday in Disneyworld with my parents and little sister. This would not be such a cause for complaint if I had not gone to Disneyland twice in 2008.)
So, a 5-day festival in North Carolina should include between 30 and 50 bands. I don't know 30 bands on Merge Records, but here are all of the ones I would pray to sign-up:
The Arcade Fire
Trail of the Dead
East River Pipe
The Magnetic Fields
M. Ward/She & Him
and finally the band that could make the festival an absolute must for all of its die-hards:
Neutral Milk Hotel
I like NMH but nowhere near as much as MBV, so their reunion would not be enough for me to make the trek to NC. However, people seem to be very obsessed with them, and their reunion would certainly make for quite the story. Superchunk playing anywhere will always make me think twice about where I should be, but I'm not in the sort of financial condition I was in a year-and-a-half ago when I saw them play in Chicago and then saw them play in New York a few days later in the course of the same week. I would also assume that other bands not necessarily on Merge might be asked to play, since this festival is so long. But there are a lot of bands on the label that I didn't list, so who knows what's going to happen. I just think it's great that they are putting together such an extravagant celebration for the whole year of 2009. Okay, hiatus resumed.