Posts Tagged ‘Merge Records’

Cable Ties are frenetic lead lines tethered to a hypnotic rhythm section. They take the 3 minute punk burner and stretch it past breaking point. Suddenly the garage rock gives way as primitive boogie, kraut and post-punk take things way out to the horizon.

We are all over the moon to let you know that we’ve joined the family at the remarkable Merge Records. We have long admired their journey from bedroom cassette-dubbing syndicate to beloved independent icons. We made a little playlist of our fave Merge bands to celebrate – https://www.mergerecords.com/cable-ties-sign-to-merge Couldn’t ask for a dreamier bunch to work with on our future releases to the big wide world.
Our first love – Fitzroy filth-rock factory poison city records – is still our home here in Oz & NZ.

The single, “Tell Them Where to Go” is out now on Merge Records

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California garage rocker Mikal Cronin recently shared “I’ve Got Reason” the final single ahead of the release of his fourth album, Seeker, out today. The song lets it rip with a fuzzed-out chaos that’s wonderfully sloppy—with a psychedelic music video adding to the madness.“I’ve Got Reason” is undoubtedly the heaviest of Cronin’s new releases. While “Shelter” works soaring strings into its beautiful arrangement, “I’ve Got Reason” strips away the frills. The single feels straight out of the garage, with a minimal guitar, bass and drum formula.

On his fourth full-length, Mikal Cronin continues to experiment outside of the Bay Area garage rock scene he was reared in. The songs on Seeker are imbued with darkness: lovelorn, tense, unsure. They’re rocking ballads filled with ornate production and doubts

From the album “Seeker” out October 25th, 2019 on Merge Records.

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Hiss Golden Messenger has released a new track from their upcoming album Terms of Surrender”, which comes out September 20th. The hypnotic and moody “Cat’s Eye Blue” finds lead singer/songwriter M.C. Taylor taking emotional inventory and gaining a new perspective focusing on what is fundamentally most important.

Taylor says of the track, “‘Cat’s Eye Blue’ is a song about anxiety. And about fathers. How to express ourselves in real terms. How to cut the poison out to avoid further harm. ‘Is this wicked word too bad to be spoken? You let the heart attack in. One taste and it’s broken.’ I sing about fathersmy own, specificallybecause I almost lost mine during the writing of this record. He’s still hereI hear him outside playing with my kids right nowbut I’ve been thinking about him a lot this past year.”

“Cat’s Eye Blue” follows the June release of “I Need a Teacher”, the first single off of Terms of Surrender. The inspiring video for the song was filmed during the statewide North Carolina Association of Educators’ Day of Action demonstration. The reaction and support since the release of the song and clip has been exceptional.

“Cat’s Eye Blue” from the new record Terms of Surrender, out September 20th on Merge Records.

There’s a lot of pedigree behind the band Gauche — its members are also in Downtown Boys and Priests — so maybe it’s not too surprising that their debut album, A People’s History Of Gauche, absolutely goes off, but so it does. They’re a young band that has a sense of legacy, willing to engage with punk music on a continuum, and each song feels like a treatise on what it means to be screaming and singing about the same injustices for decades while the status quo remains the same.

Washington, DC’s Gauche release A People’s History of Gauche, a collective catharsis of anger, frustration, and trauma through creativity. Gauche find their agency and joy through creating and performing music together in 36 minutes of groove-filled power punk. When asked about the genesis of the title of their Merge Records debut, Recorded with Austin Brown (Parquet Courts) and Robert Szmurlo in Brooklyn, NY, and with Jonah Takagi (Ex Hex) in DC, A People’s History of Gauche marks the first time the band worked with people outside of their ranks, resulting in a fuller sound that boasts more intricate instrumentation. From the very first line of album opener Flash – Gauche are here to compel us to dance while singing along about society’s universal struggles.

Gauche, Washington D.C.’s frantic, elastic, bombastic, ecstatic, anti-capitalist, anti-racist feminist jam band.

“A People’s History of Gauche,” out now on Merge Records. released July 12th 2019

When Fruit Bats announced its new album and signing to Merge Records late last year, singer/songwriter Eric D. Johnson did so by “Getting in a Van Again.” The 15-minute mockumentary presented a surrealist view of the music industry, while teasing the very real themes explored on his previous album Gold Past Life—Released on June 21, 2019. “I know I said I’d be around this year, but here I am getting in a van again.”

Gold Past Life marked both an end and a beginning. It’s the end of an unintentional thematic trilogy of records that began with 2014’s EDJ (a solo record by name, but a Fruit Bats release in spirit) and hit an emotional peak with  Absolute Loser. They encompassed years of loss, displacement, and the persistent, low-level anxiety of the current political climate. They were written in the wake of friends who left these earthly confines and families that could have been.

“I wrote music to comfort myself,” says Eric D. Johnson of those times. “It was a soothing balm.”

But these salves, these songs on Gold Past Life, also represent new beginnings—the journeys that await after making it through troubled times.

That spiritual sense of place is particularly important to Johnson, who has always been fascinated by dreams and the subconscious stories they can tell. “Some of these songs are directed at specific people, some at amalgams of people, and lots at myself, or the subconscious version of myself—that version like how they say you’re every single character in your dreams,” he says. “Even the artwork represents the notion that we’re all the characters in our dreams. Here’s me looking at you: I’m a deer on a beach looking you dead in the eye and licking my lips.”

The new record also features more keyboard influences and a range of guests including Greta Morgan (Springtime Carnivore, Vampire Weekend), Neal Casal (Circles Around the Sun), Trevor Beld Jimenez and Tim Ramsey (Parting Lines), Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), and more. It also sees his working relationship with producer and engineer Thom Monahan (Neko Case, Peter Bjorn & John, Devendra Banhart) hit its stride.

According to Johnson, “Fruit Bats has been a cult band for a long time.” he hopes to bring more immediacy to the music and share positivity, hope, and motivation to keep on keepin’ on with a wider audience.

“Fruit Bats makes existential make-out music,” he describes with a chuckle. “But you’re also welcome to dive into it deeper if you want. Good pop music should be sublime like that.”

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released October 9th, 2019

From his earliest days as a member of the legendary New Zealand band “The Clean” onward, singer/songwriter, David Kilgour has come to be known as one of the most respected & admired songwriters of his generation & certainly one of the greatest rock musicians to come out of New Zealand. His signature guitar twang & languid, carefree melodies are readily identifiable. Kilgour is a guitar god for guitar atheists. 

Releases September 20th, 2019

The Band:
Thomas Bell: bass, keyboards, hand chimes and percussion.
Tony de Raad: guitar.
Taane Tokona: drums and percussion.
David Kilgour: guitar, vibes, keyboards and piano.

Piano on “Swan loop” played by Matt Swanson.

From the album “Bobbie’s a girl” out September 20th, 2019 on Merge Records.

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From his earliest days as a member of the legendary The Clean onward, singer/songwriter, David Kilgour has come to be known as one of the most respected and admired songwriters of his generation and certainly one of the greatest rock musicians to come out of New Zealand. His signature guitar twang and languid, carefree melodies are readily identifiable. Kilgour is a guitar god for guitar atheists. He’s worthy of worship, but his style neither demands nor expects it, all of which only serves to increase his otherworldly cool.

“It’s moody—as in low, subdued,” says David Kilgour of his new album. The atmosphere of “Bobbie’s a girl” does feel a bit mysterious. Largely missing the jangly distortion of Kilgour’s other work, the album’s ten songs exude a hazy warmth, with a light psychedelia that recalls ’60s outfits like The Byrds and The Velvet Underground.

Four decades into his career, Kilgour remains as creatively restless as ever. Wherever that drive takes him next, you’ll want to follow.

Releases September 20th, 2019
The Band
Thomas Bell: bass, keyboards, hand chimes and percussion.
Tony de Raad: guitar.
Taane Tokona: drums and percussion.
David Kilgour: guitar, vibes, keyboards and piano.

From the album “Bobbie’s a Girl” out September 20th, 2019 on Merge Records

Fruit Bats share “Ocean” music video ahead of summer tour dates

Just ahead of full-band performances in NYC and DC, as well as appearances at MRG30 and Pickathon, Eric D. Johnson of Fruit Bats is sharing a music video for “Ocean” from his much-loved Merge Records debut, “Gold Past Life”.  director Danielle Rubi: says

When I first heard Eric’s song “Ocean,” I immediately had a series of moving photographs play out in my mind. The melancholic tone resonated with me a lot artistically, so I decided to create an authentic portrait of how it may feel to be a bit lost in this world. I think our culture could use more somber, honest, and hopeful pieces out there. To help us feel found, and to simply say, We are going to be ok.

The opaque aqua Peak Vinyl of Gold Past Life packaged with a bonus 7-inch is sold out in the Merge store, but Fruit Bats will have copies on the road while supplies last!

Praise for “Gold Past Life”:

“This sweet, smart concept album about nostalgia is one of the year’s best-written… Even as dedicated a nostalgist as Johnson paints himself to be can come to realize that the future’s still a good place to go mining for gold, too.” —Variety

“A peak of radiant retro poppiness” —Rolling Stone

“Deftly avoiding the pitfalls of nostalgia, Fruit Bats’ Gold Past Life takes stock of life from the vantage point of middle age and charts a path forward with hope and no little circumspection, without once feeling sorry for itself.” —PopMatters

“Underneath guitar melodies that seem to glide on warm California air, and Johnson’s singular falsetto harmonies, he is working through some dark, existential anxieties on Gold Past Life. But that’s what makes these songs so sublime.” —No Depression

“It hurts, thinking about what once was. So Gold Past Life wraps that sobering truth up in animated pop rock, an element of sweetness to make the darkness go down a little easier.” —Paste

The opaque aqua Peak Vinyl of Gold Past Life packaged with a bonus 7-inch is sold out in the Merge store, but Fruit Bats will have copies on the road while supplies last!

Mikal Cronin has announced his fourth solo album album. “Seeker” is due out October 25th via Merge Records. Check out the Yasi Salek-directed video for his new single “Show Me.” Cronin has also announced an upcoming tour—find those dates at the Merge website.

“Show Me’ is a song about feeling small in an overwhelming world,” said Cronin. “There’s a not-quite-subtle hint of the Heartbreakers in the instrumentation and arrangement, having asked many friends to play or sing. It’s one of my favorite songs from the album, I hope you like it too.”

Seeker is Mikal Cronin’s fourth and finest full-length to date. Recorded live with a crew of close friends and engineer Jason Quever at Palmetto Studios in Los Angeles, it finds Cronin pushing his often devastating power pop into darker territory. “Fire—specifically its cycle of purging and reseeding the landscape—is a central theme to the record. Death and rebirth,” says Mikal. “I was looking for something: answers, direction, peace. I am the seeker.”

Mikal Cronin recorded Seeker with engineer Jason Quever. He was backed by Ty Segall’s Freedom Band on the album, which is his follow-up to 2015’s MCIII.

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“Angie, are you tough enuh-uff/To let it go?” asks Mary Timony over her sugared electric guitar churn at the outset of Ex Hex’s latest, immortalizing a new rock’n’roll Angie with as much performative heartache and swagger as Jagger did, maybe more.

Ex Hex’s second album is about garage-rock thrust at its core, like prime Rolling Stones and their own debut Rips. Like that LP, it draws a through-line from the Shangri-Las to Blondie to Sleater-Kinney to, well, Ex-Hex. This time, though, pop-metal production shine adds a new meta-textual layer, conjuring visions of the CBGB Class of ‘76 upscaled to the arena rock of ’86, thanks in part to furniture maker-turned indie-rock production swami Jonah Takagi. It’s nothing but guitars, bass, and drums, but the sound is huge, bulked up with vocal reverb, choice pedals and amps.

Ex Hex have released the bizarrely glam new video for the track “Rainbow Shiner” from their latest album It’s Real, is out now via Merge Records.

The video’s animator, cult cartoonist M. Wartella, says of the project in a statement, “As artists, often our destructive tendencies come from the same place in our heads that creativity comes from, and that is what we aimed to capture in this psychedelic trip clip. Well, that and to rock your socks off! For real!!!”

From the album It’s Real, out now on Merge Records.