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2018-05-25
Destroyer: City of Daughters (Reissue)

This is a reissue of Destroyer's 1998 City of Daughters album, its first time widely available on vinyl.

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2018-05-25
Destroyer: Thief (Reissue)

This is a reissue of Destroyer's 1999 Thief album, its first time widely available on vinyl.

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2018-05-25
Tracyanne & Danny: Tracyanne & Danny

Tracyanne & Danny is a new collaborative project between singer-songwriters Tracyanne Campbell (Camera Obscura) and Danny Coughlan (Crybaby).

Their paths first crossed in 2013 when introduced by mutual music industry pals. Mutual artistic respect led to the swapping of song ideas, but tentative plans to work together were set aside while Camera Obscura released their fifth album Desire Lines.

Following the death of Camera Obscura's Carey Lander, all band activity stopped. Time passed.

Tracyanne and Danny revisited the idea of collaborating.

A pool of songs were honed and crafted. On the suggestion of their manager (and Teenage Fanclub drummer) Francis Macdonald, they recorded at Clashnarrow, a studio in Helmsdale in the highlands of Scotland owned by the esteemed Edwyn Collins.

Sessions took place throughout 2016 and 2017. Edwyn co-produced along with engineer and multi-instrumentalist Sean Read (Dexys).

They had the use of Edwyn's vintage gear as they invoked a range of shared influences: The Roches, Dion, Lou Reed, The Flamingos, Serge Gainsbourg, Santo & Johnny, and The Style Council.

Tracyanne & Danny is not a diverting curio or a wee stop on the road to someplace else. It is a shared artistic aesthetic, forged over time. There will be more songs.

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Release Date
2018-05-25
Tracyanne & Danny: Tracyanne & Danny

Tracyanne & Danny is a new collaborative project between singer-songwriters Tracyanne Campbell (Camera Obscura) and Danny Coughlan (Crybaby).

Their paths first crossed in 2013 when introduced by mutual music industry pals. Mutual artistic respect led to the swapping of song ideas, but tentative plans to work together were set aside while Camera Obscura released their fifth album Desire Lines.

Following the death of Camera Obscura's Carey Lander, all band activity stopped. Time passed.

Tracyanne and Danny revisited the idea of collaborating.

A pool of songs were honed and crafted. On the suggestion of their manager (and Teenage Fanclub drummer) Francis Macdonald, they recorded at Clashnarrow, a studio in Helmsdale in the highlands of Scotland owned by the esteemed Edwyn Collins.

Sessions took place throughout 2016 and 2017. Edwyn co-produced along with engineer and multi-instrumentalist Sean Read (Dexys).

They had the use of Edwyn's vintage gear as they invoked a range of shared influences: The Roches, Dion, Lou Reed, The Flamingos, Serge Gainsbourg, Santo & Johnny, and The Style Council.

Tracyanne & Danny is not a diverting curio or a wee stop on the road to someplace else. It is a shared artistic aesthetic, forged over time. There will be more songs.

Various Artists: I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas

On April 6, 2018, Merge Records will release I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas, a double-LP compiling the covers of each track from All Hail West Texas that will be unveiled during the first season of I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats, a unique new podcast from Night Vale Presents. The podcast is a remarkable conversation series featuring Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn’t Dead creator Joseph Fink and New York Times best-selling author John Darnielle, who is also the founder, lead singer, and songwriter for the Mountain Goats-and Fink's own personal artistic hero. Together, Fink and Darnielle take the listener on a deep dive into the world of creativity and the duality of being an artist and a fan, both by sharing their own creative processes and music-geek obsessions and through immersive chats with other notable musicians and writers including best-selling YA author and music nerd John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) and Merge Records co-founder Mac McCaughan (Superchunk), as well as many special music guests such as Andrew Bird, Craig Finn, Laura Jane Grace, and Amanda Palmer, who offer up their own opinions as well as new renditions of songs from All Hail West Texas.

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2018-04-06
Wye Oak: The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs

Louder is the third record that Wasner and Andy Stack, who launched Wye Oak in Baltimore, have made while living in separate cities-she in Durham, North Carolina, he in Marfa, Texas. They flew to one another for a week or so at a time, hunkering in home studios to sort through and combine their separate song sketches. These shorter stints together produced less second-guessing and hesitation in their process, yielding an unabashed and unapologetic Wye Oak. They discarded past rules about using just guitar or keyboard to write a record, instead funneling all those experiences and experiments into perfectly unified statements. The result is the biggest, broadest, boldest music they've ever made. The title track is a coil of anxiety and exuberance, its verses and chorus sweeping into cascades of magnetic harmony. By the time the song ends, it feels like a real pop anthem, a spell to be shouted against the ills of our world.

The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs arrives at a time of immense doubt, when our personal problems are infinitely compounded by a world that seems in existential peril. The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is a powerful reminder to keep calling, to keep trying, no matter the peril it poses.

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2018-03-02
Titus Andronicus: A Productive Cough

Since debuting in 2008, Titus Andronicus [hereafter +@] has been conditioning faithful listeners to always expect only the unexpected, consistently zigging where others would zag and maintaining a steadfast dedication to fearless ambition. With the March 2 release of the new studio album A Productive Cough on Merge Records, +@ has executed the most shocking departure yet-but only if, as ever mercurial singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles insists, "you haven’t been paying attention." A Productive Cough was recorded by longtime +@ producer Kevin McMahon at Marcata Recording in New Paltz, NY, with an enviable cast of 21 elite musicians whose diverse backgrounds and skill sets allow +@ to incorporate far-reaching musical styles from country to rap to soul to jazz. Even amongst such luminaries as veteran pianist Rick Steph (Cat Power, Lucero, Hank Williams Jr.) and esteemed cellist Jane Scarpantoni (R.E.M., Bob Mould, Lou Reed), listeners may be most struck by what is sure to be a star-making turn on lead vocals from Brooklyn singer Megg Farrell for the aging-punk's lament "Crass Tattoo," as the perennially raspy Stickles humbly steps away from the microphone to enable what may be +@'s most unapologetically gorgeous track yet.

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2018-02-16
Ought: Room Inside the World

On Room Inside the World-Ought's third album and their first for Merge-growing up doesn't mean mellowing out so much as it means learning to pay attention, listening carefully and openly, staying somewhere long enough to really understand where you are. Recorded at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn with producer Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Silver Jews), Room Inside the World explores themes that have always concerned the band-identity, connection, survival in a precarious world-but with a bolder, more nuanced sound palette. Vibraphone, justly intonated synthesizers, drum machines, and a 70-piece choir suffuse the precise post-punk breakdowns that spangled Ought's first two albums, giving rise to an emotional complexity that pushes their characteristically taut sound to greater depths. It makes for a different kind of catharsis: the quiet satisfaction of a job well done, the glow of seeing someone as they are, the soft simmer of real love. It's like finding a space inside the world where you can sit down for a bit, a room where there's room enough for everyone. The record ends on a comma, a quick fade, a sharp intake of breath, and you find yourself right back where you began.

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2018-02-16
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2018-02-16
Superchunk: What A Time To Be Alive

After the shocking, and for many, demoralizing result of the 2016 election, "I didn’t buy the silver lining some were promoting that 'well, at least art and music will be great now!'," says Superchunk co-founder and frontman Mac McCaughan. "Obviously, any sane person would gladly trade four to eight years of terrible music for not having our country dismantled to satisfy the whims of a vengeful child and his enablers." Written almost entirely between November 2016 and February 2017, What a Time to Be Alive was recorded and mixed by Beau Sorenson, who also worked on I Hate Music. "He's possibly the first engineer we’ve worked with that I had to ask to turn down the guitars," says Mac. "Not too much, though." The record also features more guest backing vocalists than any previous Superchunk album, including Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit), Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Skylar Gudasz, and David Bazan. "Part of that was wanting a feeling of community," says Mac. "I think that’s important to not be completely bummed out about everything all the time."

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2018-02-16
Superchunk: What A TIme To Be Alive

After the shocking, and for many, demoralizing result of the 2016 election, "I didn’t buy the silver lining some were promoting that 'well, at least art and music will be great now!'," says Superchunk co-founder and frontman Mac McCaughan. "Obviously, any sane person would gladly trade four to eight years of terrible music for not having our country dismantled to satisfy the whims of a vengeful child and his enablers." Written almost entirely between November 2016 and February 2017, What a Time to Be Alive was recorded and mixed by Beau Sorenson, who also worked on I Hate Music. "He's possibly the first engineer we’ve worked with that I had to ask to turn down the guitars," says Mac. "Not too much, though." The record also features more guest backing vocalists than any previous Superchunk album, including Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit), Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Skylar Gudasz, and David Bazan. "Part of that was wanting a feeling of community," says Mac. "I think that’s important to not be completely bummed out about everything all the time."

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2018-01-26
H.C. McEntire: Lionheart

H.C. McEntire, frontwoman of Mount Moriah, strikes out on her own with her debut solo album LIONHEART, a collection of songs inspired by the American South and a desire to reclaim "country" music from the hetero-normative, homogenous schtick of tailgates and six-packs and men chasing women. Stereogum describes her voice as "weary, wise, and bright as morning sunshine all at once," and that sunshine glows throughout the triumphant LIONHEART. "LIONHEART is personal: from recording it mostly at my house, to inviting close friends to play on it and put themselves in it, to the deeply autobiographical narratives of place and people," writes McEntire. "In music, there are no rules. You make your own language. You can be both the Southern rock outlier and the twangy gospel conduit. You can be both the cherubic, honey-tongued innocent and the ardent punk. To get here - to find my lion hear - I had to become them all." For the album, McEntire collaborated with many of her favorite musicians, including Kathleen Hanna, Angel Olsen, Amy Ray, Tift Merritt, William Tyler, and Phil Cook, while remaining bravely devoted to her most authentic self throughout the process. LIONHEART was recorded during the first few months of 2017 with additional recording and mixing taking place on the run as McEntire toured the world as a member of Angel Olsen's band.

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2018-01-26
Hollie Cook: Vessel of Love

Hollie Cook combines her unique vocal talent with charming charisma to craft her own dynamic strand of lovers rock with enduring tropical vibes, weaving a path from her West London roots to an arena of diverse collaborations, critically acclaimed records and iconic live appearances around the world. Her music career commenced early when family friend and punk trailblazer Ari Up asked Cook, age 19 at the time, to join the raucous '70s feminist UK post-punk outfit The Slits for their reformation in 2006. She thrived on being thrown into the deep end and quickly cut her teeth with four years of back-to-back shows around the globe. Acclaimed, legendary producer Martin 'Youth' Glover is Cook's most recent collaborator, lending his venerable production expertise to Hollie's latest album 'Vessel of Love'. His success with Killing Joke is only surpassed by his enduring reputation as one of the most prolific producers in the UK, which was recently validated with an Outstanding Contribution Award from the Music Producers Guild.

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2018-01-26
Hollie Cook: Vessel of Love

Hollie Cook combines her unique vocal talent with charming charisma to craft her own dynamic strand of lovers rock with enduring tropical vibes, weaving a path from her West London roots to an arena of diverse collaborations, critically acclaimed records and iconic live appearances around the world. Her music career commenced early when family friend and punk trailblazer Ari Up asked Cook, age 19 at the time, to join the raucous '70s feminist UK post-punk outfit The Slits for their reformation in 2006. She thrived on being thrown into the deep end and quickly cut her teeth with four years of back-to-back shows around the globe. Acclaimed, legendary producer Martin 'Youth' Glover is Cook's most recent collaborator, lending his venerable production expertise to Hollie's latest album 'Vessel of Love'. His success with Killing Joke is only surpassed by his enduring reputation as one of the most prolific producers in the UK, which was recently validated with an Outstanding Contribution Award from the Music Producers Guild.

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2017-11-10
Escape-ism: Introduction to Escape-ism

Introduction to Escape-ism by Escape-ism isn't a typical record.

Oh, sure, it looks like one, with a label in the center and mysterious grooves etched on a sleek, black disc that glints in the light with a perverse air of knowing treachery. But this disc is different.

Why? Because it's the first "solo" record by Ian Svenonius - of groups The Make-Up, Chain & the Gang, XYZ, Weird War, etc. - and as such, it's profound, prophetic, perverse, and poetic... It's introverted glitter, violence against the state, obsessive desire; it stomps on convention, shreds constitutions, clobbers pre-conceived notions of what a record can be.

A drum box, a guitar, a cassette player, and a single slobbering, sinful voice singing out... for a way out. Live, it's a new paradigm of performance: raw, gestural, idiotic, sublime, revolutionary, poetic, faux naïf, unknowing, a drainage pipe that leads to who knows where.

Escape-ism's Introduction to Escape-ism isn't just the soundtrack for a late-night drive on a lonely interstate, or a platter played to incite abandon at a pajama party with one's pals. It's also a tunnel to tomorrow. It's a mineshaft to the motherlode.

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2017-09-22
Hiss Golden Messenger: Hallelujah Anyhow

Hallelujah Anyhow is the latest studio album from Hiss Golden Messenger, out September 22 worldwide on Merge Records. Its ten new songs, penned by HGM principal M.C. Taylor, were recorded with Brad Cook, Phil Cook, Chris Boerner, Josh Kaufman, Darren Jessee, Michael Lewis, and Scott Hirsch. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Tift Merritt, Skylar Gudasz, Tamisha Waden, Mac McCaughan, and John Paul White provided vocal harmonies.

+++

I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They're the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That's the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I’ve never been afraid of the darkness; it’s just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.

Whatcha gonna do when the wall comes down? When the wall comes down? What you ought to do is let it lie-let it lie And in the gathering darkness vow to never go back It was built by man and you can tear it down Tear it down, tear it down Step back, Jack, from the darkness

I've seen darker things than night. Hallelujah anyhow. -M.C. Taylor, July 2017

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2017-08-25
A Giant Dog: Toy

Toy, the fourth LP from A Giant Dog and their second for Merge, shows the Austin quintet at the height of their powers. A solid year of road-dogging and woodshedding has made the band tighter than ever, the charging dynamo of Andrew Cashen and Andy Bauer's guitars in lockstep with the primal chug of the rhythm section Graham Low on bass and the recorded debut of Daniel Blanchard on drums. Singer Sabrina Ellis turns in another masterful performance, in equal parts brash, defiant, vulnerable, and raw. The band recorded Toy with Grammy-winning engineer Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, Cat Power, The White Stripes, Reigning Sound), and singer/songwriter/guitarist/wildman Cashen produced it. "Andrew as producer makes a lot of sense," Sabrina says. "He composes the songs and knows better than anyone what they should sound like in the end. With him at the helm, we've arrived at a raw, truthful, risky, and rangey album." Toy is also sonically huge, pulling from a range of influences as diverse as Tinariwen and Thin Lizzy.

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2017-08-25
Mike Krol: Mike Krol Is Never Dead: The First Two Records

On Mike Krol Is Never Dead: The First Two Records, we catch up—with the past, that is. Indeed, Turkey, released in 2015, is Chapter 3 of the Krol saga; here, finally, are its long-lost predecessors. Self-released in 2011, I Hate Jazz was the opening salvo of World War Krol. Only 500 copies were pressed; they were given away to anyone who showed interest (and many who showed none whatsoever). Including Krol classics like "Fifteen Minutes" and "Like a Star," the record has long been unavailable. Trust Fund followed in 2013; its 500 copies sold out on the ensuing tour, fueling a mini-mania that would elevate it to cult status. This set includes both records on freshly pressed Merge vinyl; an illuminating selection of digital outtakes, demos, and B-sides; and a fold-out poster showcasing a selection of Mike Krol ephemera.

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2017-08-25
Superchunk: Superchunk (Reissue)

When I listen to our first album now, other than cringing at some clams and the vocals and the juvenile attitude of the whole thing... what was I angry about? You’ll have to ask 21-year-old me because in my memory, we were having fun. I hear the accumulation of our influences, which I suppose is normal for a first album—weaving all the things you loved up to that point into your own first thing. The Buzzcocks, Hüsker Dü, Dinosaur Jr, and Sonic Youth are all right there and what we were listening to.

I was living in NYC finishing school when we made this record, so rehearsals and recording were all rushed. I'm surprised we knew this many songs well enough to record them. Twenty-seven years later, we still play at least three or four of these songs live occasionally (one of them all the time...), which says something good about a few of the songs, anyway! We got so much better as a band, and as songwriters, that it’s hard to even see this as any kind of template for what Superchunk would eventually be, but it's definitely where we were at in 1989/90.

- Mac McCaughan May 2017

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2017-07-14
Waxahatchee: Out In The Storm

Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield's fourth album as Waxahatchee and her second release with Merge, is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, Out in the Storm is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both her songwriting and her life. As Crutchfield prepared for the release of her Merge debut Ivy Tripp, she found herself depleted emotionally and professionally amidst the dissolution of a noxious relationship. "Ivy Tripp doesn't really have any resolution. It's a lot of beating around the bush, and superficially trying to see my life clearly, but just barely scratching the surface. Out in the Storm digs into what I was going through without blinking. It's a very honest record about a time in which I was not honest with myself." The album was tracked at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia with John Agnello, a producer, recording engineer, and mixer known for working with some of the most iconic musicians of the last 25 years, including Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth.

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2017-07-14
Waxahatchee: Out In The Storm

Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield's fourth album as Waxahatchee and her second release with Merge, is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, Out in the Storm is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both her songwriting and her life. As Crutchfield prepared for the release of her Merge debut Ivy Tripp, she found herself depleted emotionally and professionally amidst the dissolution of a noxious relationship. "Ivy Tripp doesn't really have any resolution. It's a lot of beating around the bush, and superficially trying to see my life clearly, but just barely scratching the surface. Out in the Storm digs into what I was going through without blinking. It's a very honest record about a time in which I was not honest with myself." The album was tracked at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia with John Agnello, a producer, recording engineer, and mixer known for working with some of the most iconic musicians of the last 25 years, including Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth.

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2017-06-02
The Clientele: God Save The Clientele (Reissue)

The Clientele’s 2007 album, God Save The Clientele has been re-pressed and is now available on vinyl via Merge worldwide.

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2017-06-02
The Clientele: Bonfires on the Heath

The Clientele's 2009 album, Bonfires on the Heath has been re-pressed and is now available on vinyl via Merge worldwide.

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2017-05-19
The Mountain Goats: Goths

With Matt Douglas fully on board as woodwinds-and-kitchen-sink guy, we're now a four-piece, and to record this album, our fourth for Merge and the one to which you're presumably about to listen, we went to Blackbird Studio in Nashville, as top-shelf a facility as any on the planet. They have the board Aja was recorded on. When Jon asked about snares, he was told, "We have 200 of them." We had sixteen people from the Nashville Symphony Chorus skip out on a Mahler rehearsal to come in and sing on a song. Sixteen!

The theme this time around is goth, a subject closer to my heart perhaps than that of any Mountain Goats album previous. And while John writes the songs, as he always has, it feels more than ever like he's speaking for all of us in the band, erstwhile goths (raises hand) or otherwise, for these are songs that approach an identity most often associated with youth from a perspective that is inescapably adult. Anyone old enough to have had the experience of finding oneself at sea in a cultural landscape that’s suddenly indecipherable will empathize with Pat Travers showing up to a Bauhaus show looking to jam, for example.

—Peter Hughes February 2017 Charlotte, NC

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2017-05-19