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72 MIN READ TIME

THIRTY YEARS OF MERGE RECORDS

Superchunk line up (l to r): Jon Wurster, Mac McCaughan, Jim Wilbur and Laura Ballance

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. The opening line of L.P. Hartley’s The Go- Between has been misused and retrofitted a thousand times, yet it serves an evocative purpose – as we look over our shoulders at the Polaroid hue of our youths, things get fuzzy at the edges. But for those who came up in the indie-rock boom of the early 90s, amid major-label bidding wars for out-of-the-way, Nirvana-adjacent punk bands, the sentiment might not go far enough.

“In a lot of ways, it feels like a different world,” Laura Ballance says over the phone from her office at Merge Records’ HQ in Durham, North Carolina. In a few months, the label will celebrate 30 years of music – including canonical releases by Arcade Fire, The Magnetic Fields, Spoon and Neutral Milk Hotel – with a bash featuring stars past and present, including Ballance and co-founder Mac McCaughan’s band, Superchunk.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Long Live Vinyl - Jul 2019 - David Bowie
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Other Articles in this Issue


Long Live Vinyl
It was a relationship which lacked polarity, we were
Fifty years ago, everything changed for David Bowie. He went from a singer on the fringes to finally finding success with Space Oddity. After the failure of his debut album two years earlier, just how did Bowie become the Starman? As three new vinyl boxsets explore his transformation, John Earls speaks to his bandmates and former girlfriend Hermione Farthingale
Despite often costing far less than a regular LP, many samplers have become highly collectible. Surely a definitive list of 40 is impossible? Step forward Mark Sampson
In the early 80s, Talk Talk seemed destined to be remembered as one of many bands marketed cynically as New Romantics by record companies who were far more concerned with shortterm gain than significant creative and commercial development. Third studio album The Colour Of Spring would change all that, and as Neil Crossley explains, it would propel the band from synth-pop wannabes towards boldly experimental territory…
NEWS
Film celebrates resurgence of independent record stores
Long Live Vinyl’s essential picks for the month ahead
The former Cocteau Twins member recalls two less than glorious festival appearances
Addressing Vinyl’s Most Pressing Issues
Finding a record on your wants list at a bargain price remains a huge thrill, but sharing your excitement with those outside the vinyl-centric bubble is a challenge
Extended version of Eno’s Apollo features 11 new compositions
Long Live Vinyl’s founder reflects on the four chapters of a long-gone but not forgotten magazine that provided valuable inspiration – Lee Woods’ Spiral Scratch
California collector with 4,000 records and counting
13 tracks on the Long Live Vinyl turntable this month, best enjoyed with Transmission, a classic American IPA from Leeds’ Northern Brewing Co.
New extended version of Stones’ legendary live performance gets first vinyl release
After a string of viral hits, the Londoner’s debut album is ready to land
If you want a job doing well, do it yourself… Flaming
Peter Sinfield (left) pays close attention as Robert
FEATURES
The Scissor Sisters vocalist and BBC Radio 2 presenter opens up to Felix Rowe about her lasting, unconditional love of The Cure’s monumental sixth studio album
Today’s punk bands have found a natural bedfellow in the split 7" single. Huw Baines explores the fascination of this vinyl format of choice
Richard Hawley has turned 50 since his previous album, and he celebrates his 20th anniversary as a solo artist this year. Hawley may not be fussed by milestones, but his brilliant new album Further feels like a fresh start. He tells John Earls how dog walking, shunning social media and the brevity of the 7" have contributed to his sharpest work yet
Long-time musical friends and collaborators, Calexico and Iron & Wine returned to the studio last winter 13 years after their previous release. Resultant album Years To Burn is born of a restless desire to reinvent. Gary Walker meets two of its creators, Joey Burns and Sam Beam
As the 40th anniversary of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures approaches, Peter Hook tells Jonathan Wright about the “wonderful out-of-control excitement” of making one of the best debut albums ever committed to vinyl
A cratedigger par excellence, James Lavelle has worked in legendary record shops, DJ’d in some of the world’s greatest clubs, started the game-changing Mo’ Wax label and worked with film directors including Danny Boyle and Alfonso Cuarón. He tells Gary Walker about the 10 records he’s most proud of
Founded in 1989 by members of Superchunk as a vehicle to release their own records, Merge has flourished. Huw Baines marks their anniversary
Pete Fowler’s vibrant illustrations for Super Furry Animals’ record sleeves became synonymous with the band’s playfully subversive image. Christopher Barrett finds out what inspired the man himself
Record dealer Mark O’Shaughnessy proves that the idiom the harder you work the luckier you get just might have a ring of truth to it
It took Simon Vincent 15 years to turn his dream of owning his favourite record shop into a reality, but as Ben Wardle discovers it was worth the wait
REGULARS
The only recorded output from a super-obscure bunch of punks is now a much-coveted item
In their own words, “Unseen Worlds is a record label releasing quality editions of unheralded and revolutionary, yet accessible, avant garde music.” Chris Parkin is happy to go along with that
The end cut on Nirvana’s final studio album turned out to be Kurt Cobain’s vinyl epitaph. Gary Tipp feels the pain
REVIEWS
Steve Harnell cracks the whip over the soundtrack of the 1968 extravaganza, now including a previously unheard version of The Beatles’ Revolution featuring John Lennon with The Dirty Mac
Prince gifted songs lesser artists would kill for, and here are 15 of those covers (only one previously released) performed by the great man himself. A startled John Earls reels in wonder
Look no further if you want great-sounding speakers that can double up as alien robots
Jason Kennedy spins some vinyl on this fluent yet powerful turntable
Paul Rigby‘s socks are blown off by VPI’s direct drive turntable