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This is quite a treat. 

Via Pitchfork:

Google Play has premiered a documentary about Merge Records in celebration of its 25th anniversary. It’s narrated by Daniel Handler, writer of the Lemony Snicket books, and features interviews with the label’s artists and employees. Watch it here.

Additionally, they’ve shared a free sampler in which Superchunk, the Mountain Goats, Telekinesis, Saint Rich, and Hiss Golden Messenger cover songs by Merge artists Spoon, The Magnetic Fields, Wye Oak, Mikal Cronin, and American Music Club. Dave Eggers, author and founder of 826 Valencia, has provided illustrations for each track. Watch Saint Rich cover Mikal Cronin’s “Am I Wrong”, Superchunk cover Wye Oak’s “I Don’t Feel Young”, Telekinesis cover the Magnetic Fields’ “Strange Powers” and Hiss Golden Messenger cover Spoon’s “The Beast and Dragon, Adored”.

This is all in advance of Merge 25, a four-day festival from July 23-26 in Carrboro, North Carolina. Neutral Milk Hotel, Bob Mould, Lambchop (who will be performing Nixon in its entirety), the Clientele, Destroyer, Wye Oak, Caribou, the Rock*A*Teens, and Ex Hex are scheduled to perform. Find more info here.

According to Pitchfork, Mac McCaughan wrote in a press release:

“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.”

The documentary includes interviews with members of Wye Oak, Neutral Milk Hotel, Magnetic Fields, Mountain Goats, along with Bob Mould and Mikal Cronin.

From the Google Play site: 25 Years of Merge Records

Founded by Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance in 1989, North Carolina’s Merge Records quickly grew to become one of America’s essential indie labels. From supporting their fertile local indie rock scene to launching international stars, for 25 years Merge has carved out uncompromising success by staying true to its independent roots. Google Play is proud to celebrate 25 years of Merge Records with this exclusive documentary and series of covers of Merge classics by Merge acts including Superchunk, the Mountain Goats, Telekinesis and more. Enjoy!

 

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And, there’s also a concert series:

Duke Performances Concert Series

Merge continues its 25th anniversary celebrations this summer by teaming up with Duke Performances for their popular Music in the Gardens series. Taking place throughout the months of June and July, the series invites local bands and musicians in the national spotlight to play at various venues on the Duke University campus. This year, they have extended that reach to include artists on neighboring Durham-based label Merge Records.

Among the Merge artists slated to appear at Duke’s Baldwin Auditorium are Lambchopperforming their iconic album Nixon front to backin addition to William Tyler, Mount Moriah, Stephin Merritt,and Mark Eitzel. The historic venue has recently reopened after a two-year renovation and will serve as the perfect backdrop for these special shows.

For family-friendly outdoor concerts, join Merge artists King Khan & the Shrines, the newly signed Spider Bags, The Rosebuds, Richard Buckner, and Portastatic for the Music in the Gardens series. These shows will take place in the beautiful Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics are encouraged for these performances, and food and beverages will also be available for purchase.

Tickets for these concerts will go on sale Tuesday, April 22, and may be purchased online at dukeperformances.org or by phone at (919) 684-4444. Duke Gardens tickets are $13 general / $10 Duke students and employees / free for ages 12 & under. Baldwin Auditorium tickets are $35 general / $10 Duke students.

Wednesday, July 9, at 7pm (buy tickets here)
Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham, NC
Richard Buckner

Wednesday, July 16, at 7pm (buy tickets here)
Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham, NC
Portastatic

Wednesday, July 23, at 7:30pm (SOLD OUT)
Baldwin Auditorium, Durham, NC
Lambchop performs Nixon
Mount Moriah
William Tyler

Wednesday, July 30, at 7:30pm (buy tickets here)
Baldwin Auditorium, Durham, NC
Stephin Merritt
Mark Eitzel