Merge Records

Episode 444: Hiss Golden Messenger's 'Terms Of Surrender'

Episode 444: Hiss Golden Messenger's 'Terms Of Surrender'

On his 12th studio album under the moniker Hiss Golden Messenger southern soul-poet MC Taylor is singing as if it’s his last song. Terms Of Surrender is an intimate and vulnerable look inward that finds Taylor grappling with the smaller fears that creep into our relationships, parenthood, and day-to-day life in this 21st century. Special guests J.M. Hart (Brokedown Podcast) and Wes Covey (The Ten Thousand Things) join us to discuss the latest from one of today’s most respected songwriters. 


A Giant Dog @ Cactus Club [MKE] - 8/3/19

A Giant Dog @ Cactus Club [MKE] - 8/3/19

Known for their raucous live sets Austin, TX’s A Giant Dog delivered the goods at Cactus Club in Milwaukee over the weekend. Fueled by massive T. Rex sized riffs and the ferocious (and ferociously joyful) thrashings of singer Sabrina Ellis, the group, touring behind 2017’s Toy (out now on Merge Records) made it clear why they are considered by many to be one of the greatest live acts of this generation. 

Check out the shots below from this essential night of rock n’ roll at one of Milwaukee’s most essential venues.


Episode 431: Ryan Porter's 'Force For Good'

Episode 431: Ryan Porter's 'Force For Good'

On his follow up to 2018’s The Optimist, Ryan Porter and his friends the West Coast Get Down are once again swinging for the fences and bring jazz into the spotlight for a whole new generation. Rehearsed and recorded in five-hour bursts in multiple locations, Force For Good is a fearless step forward into the future of American jazz that celebrates America’s greatest art form even as it challenges what came before it. Join us as we discuss Porter’s seemingly limitless talent, the normalization of jazz in the popular culture, and much more. 


Episode 430: Fruit Bats' 'Gold Past Life'

 Episode 430: Fruit Bats' 'Gold Past Life'

On his latest album as Fruit Bats, Eric Johnson is looking back at dark times almost fondness, taking joy in the even the smallest of steps towards a brighter future that awaits.

Gold Past Life — his first LP on Merge Records — signifies the start of a new era for the lauded singer/songwriter. The end of the road he started out on with 2014’s EDJ, it’s songs are overflowing with harmonies, hooks, and, most importantly, heart. A life-affirming slice of pure pop perfection, it is Johnson’s finest work to date and one of the few albums you NEED to hear in 2019.


Episode 412: Ex Hex's 'It's Real' PLUS New Music from Loi Loi

Episode 412: Ex Hex's 'It's Real' PLUS New Music from Loi Loi

Washington, D.C’s Ex Hex are back, and on their sophomore release It’s Real (Merge Records) they’re unapologetically kicking out the mother f$%$ing jams, taking no prisoners, and still leaving room for some serious emotional heft just for good measure.

PLUS! Synth-rock band Loi Loi (also from Washington, D.C.) has a new album entitled Me Dystopia (Blight Records), and we’re spinning its latest single ”Do You Want To Start A War” that will have your ass moving for days, and then some.   


Episode 406: Cass McCombs's 'Tip Of The Sphere'

Episode 406: Cass McCombs's 'Tip Of The Sphere'

On his latest release Tip Of The Sphere, songwriter/man of mystery Cass McCombs is embracing spontaneity and delivering one of his most vibrant sets of songs to date. Recorded relatively quickly at Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn, Sphere captures the looseness of his collaboration with The Skiffle Players (and associations with members of the Grateful Dead) and breathes new life into McComb’s trademark wit and incisive commentary on the world today.

On the latest episode of Discologist, we’re reviewing this newest slice of weird Americana PLUS spinning a new track from trippy up-and-comers Garcia Peoples!


Episode 405: Bob Mould's 'Sunshine Rock'

Episode 405: Bob Mould's 'Sunshine Rock'

Bob Mould is one of the pioneers of indie rock, and on his latest LP Sunshine Rock, he’s looking back to better times and making one of the best albums of his careers in the process. Guest PJ Sykes joins us to discuss why the album is an essential ray of light in these dark times, how to learn to love an icon, and much more!


Episode 355: The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs - Wye Oak

Episode 355: The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs - Wye Oak

Over twelve years and six albums, Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have proven time and again that their talents know no boundaries. Their new LP The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, finds the experimentation that the duo has been pursuing over the past few years - both within the constraints of Wye Oak and through various solo projects (Flock of Dimes, El Vey, Dungeonesse)  - coalescing into a real evolution of the band that isn't just their strongest release to date, but one of the best albums of 2018. Join us as we try to suppress our fanaticism and explore what makes this record so singular, and such a milestone for one of indie rocks greatest bands.

PLUS! Phil Cook is BACK and here to help you through this life with the first track off of his upcoming LP,  People Are My Drug.


Episode 348: What A Time To Be Alive - Superchunk

Episode 348: What A Time To Be Alive - Superchunk

What happens when one of the most revered indie-rock bands of all time gets fed up with the state of the world around them? On What A Time To Be Alive, Superchunk answers that question the only way they know how: with shrieking guitars, wit, and fury. On our latest episode, musician/photog/cat dad PJ Sykes is joining Kevin via teh interwebs to dive into this minor masterpiece of righteous outrage that may just save us all.

PLUS! Richmond, VA's DOLL BABY has a throwback sound that sounds all their own, and we're spinning one of PJ's favorite tracks for your education and enjoyment.


Episode 264: Uyai - Ibibio Sound Machine

Episode 264: Uyai - Ibibio Sound Machine

London's Ibibio Sound Machine "...is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West African funk, disco, modern post-punk, and electro" and on their first release on North Carolina's vaunted Merge Records, they've refined their sound without skimping on any of its power. Full of songs that are just as likely to make you consider injustices in the world as they are to get you on the dance floor, Uyai is a triumph for the band and maybe a sign of a new direction for Merge. 

PLUS! After having his life "turned upside down" in 2014 when he discovered he was adopted, DC based super-producer/DJ/U Street Music Hall proprietor Will Eastman turned to his creativity to guide him through the turmoil, and Hilo, his new LP, is the result. 


Episode 257: Prisoner - Ryan Adams

Episode 257: Prisoner - Ryan Adams

This year, the Grammy's made it clear that they may have some...issues to work through. Kevin and Marcus Dowling (Bandcamp/Pitchfork) try to clear the air on how the esteemed organization really functions, and what you, YES YOU, might be able to do to change that.

Ryan Adams is one of the most prolific, and most successful singer/songwriters of the past 20 years. On Prisoner, his 16th LP, he's mining the pain of his recent divorce and the glory of 80's rock n' roll in equal measure? Is it another hit for the man with all the feelz, or is Adams just treading water? Tune in and find out.

PLUS! Ibibo Sound Machine is coming soon to a stereo near you. Get to know them and their single "Give Me A Reason" so you can get hype like us. 


Episode 250: Tourist In This Town - Allison Crutchfield

Episode 250: Tourist In This Town - Allison Crutchfield

Allison Crutchfield (twin sister of Katie Crutchfield aka Waxahatchee) has paid her dues in bands like P.S. Eliot, Bad Bananna, and Swearin', but on her new LP Tourist In This Town (Merge Records) she's blasting off into a whole new phase of her career. Lousy with emotionally supercharged synth jams, Tourist reveals Crutchfield as one of the most vibrant voices of her generation, so of course, we're gonna talk about.

PLUS! Sampha's Process drops in a few weeks. We've got a taste of this masterful R&B excursion. 


Episode 228: Teenage Fanclub - Here

Episode 228: Teenage Fanclub - Here

Like a sexier version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, you can now mix your Tinder with your Spotify. Join us as three middle-aged men discuss the implications, you've obviously come to the most qualified source for these sort of things.

Scottish indie-rock legends Teenage Fanclub are back with a new label (Merge!) and a new album (Here!). Kevin's neighbor (and lifelong Teenage Fanclub fan) Michael Zwirn joins us in the basement to get to the bottom of what makes their latest power-pop gem tick.

Stronger Sex is a band from Washington, DC. Stronger Sex is a band you should KNOW from Washington, DC. Good thing we've got their latest track, "Dating", for you to hang all of your hopes and fears on...or just dance to.


Episode 225: Hiss Golden Messenger - Heart Like A Levee

Episode 225: Hiss Golden Messenger - Heart Like A Levee

In the 21st century one of the greatest scourges on the music industry is piracy. Time was though that Seymour Butts could get twelve albums for one shiny penny. 

M.C. Taylor's Hiss Golden Messenger is back with his follow up to 2014's critically lauded, Lateness Of Dancers. On Heart Like A Levee, the North Carolina singer/songwriters second album for Merge Records, Taylor is going deeper into questions of faith and explorations of country soul, and we're tagging along for the most excellent ride.

Because everything is better when it's country AF, we're taking a look at a new track from Atlanta, GA's Chris Stalcup and The Grange off of their latest album Downhearted Fools. Country. A.F.


Souvenirs from Hopscotch

Souvenirs from Hopscotch

Hopscotch can be grueling. During the course of the three-day-long festival, some people will compete with their friends to see who among them can catch the most sets by the over 120 official bands (plus a couple hundred bands playing day parties), like it’s a music festival version of Pokemon-Go. Others will attempt to drink their weight in tasty local craft beers while stumbling between a dozen or so venues across downtown Raleigh.

After seven years of covering Hopscotch for various outlets, I’ve decided to slow it down just a little bit and allow myself to savor the best moments.


Wye Oak @ Rock & Roll Hotel - 6/22/16

Wye Oak @ Rock & Roll Hotel - 6/22/16

It's been ten mother-effing years!" said Jenn Wasner to the sold-out crowd at Rock & Roll Hotel. Formed in mid-2006 in Maryland and continuing to earn the praise of music critics everywhere, Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner’s two-piece indie rock band surprised fans on June 9th by releasing their new album, Tween, at the same moment it was announced. 


Episode 181: Bob Mould - Patch The Sky

Episode 181: Bob Mould - Patch The Sky

Is the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame an institution that's past it's prime. At this year's ceremony Steve Miller certainly seemed to think so.

Legendary rock icon Bob Mould is back with his latest collection of rockers Patch The Sky. Need we say more?

Detroit based producer and MC Black Milk (Curtis Cross) and his band Nat Turner are back with The Rebellion Sessions. We've got a taste of these tasty jams to wet your appetite.

RIP Above The Bayou. Long live Above The Bayou!


Episode 171: Eric Bachmann - Eric Bachmann

Episode 171: Eric Bachmann - Eric Bachmann

The roller coaster that is TIDAL keeps on keeping on as new reports claim that the troubled, Jay Z owned streaming service is making plans to sue original owners Aspiro for misreporting their subscriber numbers.

On his latest, self titled album, indie rock legend Eric Bachmann (Archers Of Loaf, Crooked Fingers) is shedding his past and delivering his most personal collection of songs to date.

Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are lifelong friends and legends of Brazilian music. We’ve got a taste of their recently released live set, the joyous Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música.


Telekinesis @ Black Cat - 10/19/15

Telekinesis @ Black Cat - 10/19/15

Telekinesis, the power pop project of Seattle-based musician Michael Lerner, released its fourth record, Ad Infinitum, last month.  An album that seems almost out of another time, it focuses more heavily on the synthesizers than previous Telekinesis albums and amplifies the 80s influences which have always been present in Lerner’s music.  Last week, the band’s tour for the album came to the Black Cat.