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).
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.
17th Annual Breakin' Hearts • Shuga Shane • Element • Knucklehead Zoo • Randy Boogie • Foundations of Freedom • Chief Rocekrz • BZ Beatz • hip-hop
By August March
Education, competition and reflection are the themes of the 17th annual Breakin' Hearts Festival, a four day hip-hop party right here in Albuquerque. Featuring regionally known artists, advocates and other interested parties, the main event for this spectacular get down is going down on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Historic El Rey Theater from noon until 10pm. Preceded by nightly dances and educational opportunities galore, Saturday night's event is hosted by Shuga ShaneUHF/XFRX and Speed One and features the renowned DJs Element, Randy B and BZ Beats. Besides Beatbox and breakin' battles, a freestyle dance competition and a Blackbook contest, with performances by Def-i, LETSJUSB, Gravity, Jessica Lopez and Carlos Contreras. All-ages are welcome at this event—it's $20 at the door and $15 in advance from Vibes Dance Studio. Get your body movin' today before that sauce recipe disappears into the vault again.
AMP Concerts presents a concert by pedal steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier at The Cooperage on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 7:30pm. Collier is considered the master of a traditional approach to an instrument that's become familiar to American ears through every sorta sound from straight Country and Western to rocanrol and even indie bands. The artist's slide-style playing is lightning fast and gorgeously executed with a twang and twist. He's jammed with the Allman Brothers, Los Lobos and Tedeschi-Trucks; his latest recording was produced by by Michael League, one of David Crosby's current collaborators. In summary, this show is going to rock out, so be there. Tickets are only $17 in advance and $22 the day of the show. It's an intimate venue replete with meat and cocktails—which means this is a 21+ gig—and you are guaranteed to walk away with a shiny spot in your head that will only disappear with repeated exposure to songs like “Far Away Eyes.”