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."
If you pay attention to the sort of media that reasonably expects its audience to scroll through a list of 300 albums, you already know the fetching story of Shamir Bailey. A 20-year-old, male-pronoun-approving, gender-fluid African-American who grew up in Vegas and played country music until enough bizzers told him they didn’t know how to… More »