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."
Over the course of her nearly decade-long career as Grouper, Liz Harris has become a master of all things overcast. Her ambient compositions and waterlogged ballads are like fogged-up windows — bleary enough to indicate the bleakness inside, but only its vaguest outlines. There’s suggestion of something heartbreaking, but its true shape remains occluded, unobtainable,… More »