In honor of our shiny new website and holiday store, your friendly Merge staffers took a little stroll through the Merge catalog and chose albums of personal significance. Read all of the recommendations and visit the Merge Holiday store to find your new favorite release!
Adam Jackson: The Clientele - Strange Geometry
To list all of the things that make me love a particular band or song or album would take more time than any of us can spare. I can say however, that The Clientele and each of their records fulfill almost everything I love about great music. Their sound is often described as "autumnal" and it is. It is also perfect on a steamy summer evening, a cold winter morning & a beautiful spring day. It's always time for The Clientele. Any of their records will do the trick. Today, for me, it's Strange Geometry. Read Adam's Year End list.
Christina Rentz: The Rock*A*Teens - Sweet Bird of Youth
I first wanted to work at Merge in no small part because of The Rock*A*Teens. I saw them play often at the soon-to-be-torched club The Bayou when I was in college at LSU. I assumed they were a much more nationally popular band than they actually were due to the fervor they inspired in my friends and I. "Car and Driver" was the first song on every mixtape I made in the early '00's, and I could probably tell you a story inspired by every song on this 17-song album. Read Christina's Year End list.
Vanessa DeJongh: Eleanor Friedberger - Personal Record
Maybe this would have been the perfect soundtrack for that drive I made once from La Honda to Santa Cruz, fighting and eating smuggled produce and winding through the trees to find the sun and water over my right shoulder. Or maybe that day I took the train from 207 Street all the way to Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade, and somehow found my friend there in the crowd, already drunk and making friends with a drunk mechanic from Queens and his drunk teenage daughter. But it's 2013 and I'm driving home in the night under a bright moon that's almost full, with a sleepy three year old in the backseat who's listening too, and she asks, "Mama, does this lady live here, on planet Earth? I want to meet her." The ongoing WOW is happening right now. Read Vanessa's Year End List.
Taylor Townes: Lambchop - Thriller
When I was trying to get an internship at Merge, I didn't feel like I could look at the application until I had done sufficient 'research'. I listened to a ton of Merge music, which essentially turned into listening to a ton of Lambchop. This one in particular reminds of filling out my application. Read Taylor's Year End List.
Nick Cain: The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
This album was one of my first discoveries when I began combing through the Merge vault upon the beginning of my employment here 2 and half years ago. It instantly gave me mid-aught nostalgia and has been a favorite ever since. Read Nick's Year End list.
Maggie Fost: Lou Barlow - Emoh
This is the record I put on when I don't have time to get in a single-engine plane, fly to an unnamed island a thousand miles north of where I am, and spend half a year in the forest trying to get back to the heart of the matter. RIYL: Lou!
Lindsey Kronmiller: White Whale - WWI
WWI is the story of the open sea and all the secrets you can leave behind. Matt Suggs had a number of near-perfect albums in his past, but he needed something new. Rob Pope came on board and made one of the few albums I'll never forget. Read Lindsey's Year End list.
Keith Artin: Tenement Halls - Knitting Needles and Bicycle Bells
Chris Lopez gave us this awesome solo debut in 2005, taking some of the edge off the demise of the beloved Rock*A*Teens. So many great songs, although personal favorites are "Up & Over Thee Turnstiles" and "Plenty Is Never Enough." Hopefully not the last we'll hear from Chris Lopez in whatever configuration. Read Keith's Year End list.
James Cartwright: Times New Viking - Dancer Equired
TNV, the real deal. One of the first records I worked on at Merge and one of my favorites. It wasn't until after we'd gone to print that they let me know of (possible) copyright infringement. Go Buckeyes. Read James' Year End List.
Camelia Brennan: Wye Oak - The Knot
I first heard The Knot when I was helping out at the Merge XX festival as an intern in 2009, and I have such fond memories of those times, and this record. Also, this is one of my favorite album covers ever, it's so enchanting! Read Camelia's Year End list.
Becky Mormino: Polvo - Celebrate the New Dark Age
Celebrate the New Dark Age came out my freshman year of college and was proclaimed best record of the year by the school paper. I promptly went out and bought it and played it really loud in my dorm room, hoping other people would think I was cool. While that remains to be seen, this Polvo classic has never left my permanent music rotation and is the perfect cold weather listen. If you don't have it, you're really missing out. Read Becky's Year End list.
David Smith: Destroyer - Kaputt
I still listen to this record on a consistent basis -- the gorgeous production and Dan Bejar's charming, inscrutable lyrics make this a fun one to revisit. Plus that sax solo on "Suicide Demo For Kara Walker"? The best. Read David's Year End list.
Mike Caulo: Spoon - Transference & Julian Koster - The Singing Saw at Christmastime
Tis the season to get familiar with Julian Koster's The Singing Saw at Christmastime. It's sort of spooky! I bought the record for my mom when it came out and she still enjoys playing it to wake up the family on Christmas morning. I've been revisiting Spoon's Transference after discovering Jim Eno's instagram account and #LP8 hashtags. It's just as dense as I remembered it, still unfolding for me after so many listens. Read Mike's Year End List.