Later this month, Merge Records will celebrate its 25th anniversary with Merge 25, a special four-day festival in Carrboro, North Carolina. Ahead of the festivities, Google Play has unveiled a new documentary that chronicles the label’s story thus far. Narrated by Daniel Handler (who you might know from the Lemony Snicket books), the nearly half-hour film features interviews with the label’s founders, employees, as well as its varied roster.
In addition to the documentary, Google Play and Merge have shared a free 25-track sampler of sorts, including a handful of exclusive tracks featuring Merge artists covering one another: Superchunk cover Wye Oak’s “I Don’t Feel Young”; The Mountain Goats cover American Music Club’s “Who You Are”; Telekinesis cover the Magnetic Fields’ “Strange Powers”; Saint Rich cover Mikal Cronin’s “Am I Wrong”; and Hiss Golden Messenger cover Spoon’s “The Beast and Dragon, Adored”. Each track comes with an illustration by Dave Eggers, author and founder of 826 Valencia, a non-profit organization that Merge has worked with in the past. Download the entire bundle here.
In a press release, Mac McCaughan, co-founder of Merge and Superchunk frontman, spoke on the festival and film:
“One of the most exciting aspects for me of any event at Merge is when our musicians can collaborate with other artists,” McCaughan said. “For Merge’s 25th anniversary, Google Play made it possible for us to put together a great collection of Merge artists covering other Merge artists, bringing new depth to already-loved songs by bands like Spoon, Wye Oak, and The Magnetic Fields. And to enhance the musical component, one of our literary and publishing-world heroes Dave Eggers agreed to illustrate the cover art for these tracks. The results are amazing.”
Check out the full documentary below, followed by a few of the aforementioned covers:
Superchunk cover Wye Oak’s “I Don’t Feel Young”:
Telekinesis cover the Magnetic Fields’ “Strange Powers”:
Saint Rich cover Mikal Cronin’s “Am I Wrong”:
Hiss Golden Messenger cover Spoon’s “The Beast and Dragon, Adored”: