Alibi V.18 No.41 • Oct 8-14, 2009 

Rock Reads

Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small

Everything anyone ever wanted to know about Merge Records and more lies inside this nearly 300-page congratulatory volume. Twenty years after its creation by Superchunk's Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan, the North Carolina label celebrates its triumph over recording industry standards—and rightly so—with photos, first-person accounts and a compilation CD (which, strangely, neglects the early days).

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Justin Sullivan, second from right, leads the charge in old-school British punk outfit New Model Army.
Aimee Candelaria

Music Interview

New Model Army

Punk rock and poetry in motion

These days, a real punk band can almost never find its way onto the pop charts. But back in the day (see: mid-’80s), England’s New Model Army released political punk that didn’t merely sell to left-wing extremists. Almost 30 years ago, frontman/mastermind Justin Sullivan, who has been compared to punk legends like Joe Strummer and Dick Lucas, named NMA after Oliver Cromwell’s successful (at least for a while) 17th-century British anti-royalist forces. Sullivan’s intelligent, informed and captivating songwriting helped the group get signed by EMI—who the Sex Pistols swindled in the ’70s—and embark on a dozen British Top 30 singles before descending (or ascending, depending your worldview) to the worldwide cult status NMA holds today. The Alibi caught up with Sullivan just before the start of New Model Army’s North American tour, which hits the Launchpad this weekend.

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Flyer on the Wall

Icky Reunion

Icky and the Yuks thrashes again with SuperGiant, Wormhole and Violenta. Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Launchpad (618 Central SW). $6, 21+.

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EVENT HORIZON ()

Why Not?

Why? • indie rock, alt.hip-hop, alt.rock, pop, folk • Go Dark • experimental

If you want a reminder—and not from Radiohead—that hip-hop is everywhere, even in the indie rock that millennials are sorta into (but only after they listen to every goddamn thing they can find by Kendrick Lamar) then trip, trip, trip on down to Sister on Monday, Feb. 19 at 8pm for a recital of sorts by Cincinnati alt-rappers cum indie rock stars, WHY? Founded by a dude named Yoni in the distant and unremembered aughts, WHY? has gained traction among rockish young audiences with their pop-nuanced mash-up of rocanrol and hip-hop. They got all kinda crazy rhythms, jams and flows going on betwixt rock references and may do some drugs; their latest effort is called Moh Lhean, after all. Additionally, the critics at Allmusic have judged their music as “quirky” which oughta count for something, amirite? They do have some pretty righteous tuneage, including works like “George Washington,” “White English” and “Into the Shadows of My Embrace.” Seriously, this one's worth the price of admission and if you're into skinny jeans and man buns, then damn, get out there, girl! The cover is $15 to $18, 21+.
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