Why it was awesome: It all started with Superchunk. Singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance are Merge's Adam and Eve, the duo that founded the label to release their own records, and then their friends'. XX Merge wouldn't have been complete without hearing songs as vital as Superchunk's 1989 single "Slack Motherfucker" -- and their shockingly spot-on new stuff, like "Learned to Surf."
Halfway through Ruban Nielson’s explorative third LP, Multi-Love, the bipolar “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty” fractures momentarily into reverberating shards, creaking like a bridge collapsing as a murky guitar yowls in the background. Coming so soon after a silky smooth, Steely Dan-referencing guitar solo courtesy of his equally musical father Chris Nielson, it’s a tonally… More »