Starting today, Merge Records will celebrate its 25th anniversary with the four-day festival down in Carrboro, NC. Personally, I’m kicking myself for not saving up enough loot to attend because not only is the lineup dy-no-mite, but the label has always meant so much to me. The following list is a testament to that.
Founded by Superchunk’s Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan in 1989, Merge Records was originally a medium for the band to release their own records. Soon enough, the Durham, NC, label expanded to include music by their friends and eventually opened its doors to artists all around the world.
We’ll spare you the history lesson, but if you also love their output, it might behoove you to check out books like Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, or watch Google Play’s recent 24-minute documentary about the label. It’s a fascinating story that sheds a little light on how and why you’re able to enjoy some of the best records of the last 30 years — specifically, the 10 you’re about to read about.
Before you click ahead, do note that we only chose one album per artist. Also, if you’re interested in grabbing any of these LPs, support the label by buying straight from the source.