Rock Reads

Our Noise: The Story Of Merge Records, The Indie Label That Got Big And Stayed Small

Jessica Cassyle Carr
2 min read
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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).

Rock Reads The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History Of A Walk On The Wild Side

The masses still fail to grasp the full influence of Andy Warhol-molded experimental rock band The Velvet Underground. But for hipsters young and old itching to accent their already cool libraries, this tactile—in a literal move, it’s actually wrapped in black velvet—coffee table book, touted as the first illustrated history of the ’60s noise-makers, will satiate obsessions.

Rock Reads Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers On The Albums That Changed Their Lives

A mishmash of writers spin yarns about personally significant albums, from Meet the Beatles! to The Queen Is Dead to the original cast recording of Hedwig and the Angry Inch . Most of the short stories are engaging tales tethered lovingly to sound. There are a few, however, that bear nauseating resemblance to the clichéd yawners heard over and over in mainstream rock commentary—see the story about "alternative" and Pearl Jam’s Ten , for instance.

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