June 24 street date. In 1992, "The House of Tomorrow", a four-song 7-inch on a small indie label, ushered in a new era for The Magnetic Fields. When Susan Anway, who sang on their early albums "Distant Plastic Trees" and "The Wayward Bus", left the group, Stephin Merritt stepped up to the microphone. Likewise, the arrangements and production of "The House of Tomorrow" felt less polished overall than on its predecessors, even as the band’s sound was evolving. "The House of Tomorrow" rose in stature upon re-release on CD in 1996, with a new addition, "Alien Being" (previously relegated to the flip of the "Long Vermont Roads" single), boosting its modest track list from four songs to five. Although this new vinyl edition of "The House of Tomorrow" includes an etching of Buckminster Fuller's visionary D.I.Y. Dymaxion House, Stephin laments the sluggish pace of architectural innovation.
Merge Records was started in the summer of 1989, by Laura Ballance & Mac McCaughan, the same summer they formed the band Superchunk in Chapel Hill, NC. The first couple releases were cassettes (remember those?), by WWAX and Bricks, followed by the first Superchunk (then known only as "Chunk") 7" single. The vinyl 7" was the format of choice for the first 3 years of the label, with cash borrowed from friends to finance projects (including singles from Erectus Monotone, Angels of Epistemology, and more Superchunk) and bedrooms serving as Merge HQ until 1992, when the first Merge full-length release, Tossing Seeds by Superchunk, was released on CD, LP, and cassette. With this release Merge also forged a relationship with Touch and Go Records of Chicago, who have done an admirable job manufacturing and distributing the bulk of Merge's full-length releases since then. Since '92 Merge moved from one charming-yet-run-down office to another until 2001, when we finally made the move from Chapel Hill down the road to a fine old building all our own in historic Downtown Durham, NC. In 2004 Merge Records is celebrating its 15th birthday, and while our roster has changed, rotated, permutated and expanded over the last 15 years, the quality we look for in records as fans is still there in the music we put out on Merge. Thanks for listening!