Merge Records, the little indie that could, and did, will celebrate its 20th anniversary July 22-26 with XX Merge, five days of live music from bands spanning the label’s history. No location or venue(s) have been announced. A source close to Merge wouldn’t confirm what artists would be playing the festival, though we won’t give anything more than even-money odds against a Superchunk and/or Portastatic appearance. Looking at Merge’s roster of current and past acts, we’d love to see the following on the bill: the 3Ds, the Bats, the Broken West, the Magnetic Fields (jamming with Superchunk on “100,000 Fireflies,” perhaps), the Buzzcocks, Spoon, Robert Pollard, the Clean, Crooked Fingers, Versus, East River Pipe and, of course, Neutral Milk Hotel (pictured). We were going to be snarky and list bands we wouldn’t want to play, but really, the taste of co-founders Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance has been pretty solid. If Pipe, Erectus Monotone or Richard Buckner show up, maybe we’ll complain—just not vigorously.
Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Ghost” from 1998’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea: