Various Old Enough To Know Better: 15 Years of Merge Records

I get my geek on making mix CDs, to swap with travelling friends or to convert colleagues to my newest musical crush. This three-CD compilation marks 15 years of the venerable indie institution Merge Records, and not only does it cover a lot of ground, it is an amazingly sequenced, mix tape fanatic’s dream. There are some indie hit singles here, but the CD of unreleased tracks and rarities is also consistently strong, and proceeds go to the very worth Future Of Music Coalition. This could easily have been an overly sentimental exercise for Ma and Pa Merge (label founders Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan), but they took care to balance the definitive songs with the underappreciated gems. I will never tire of hearing Butterglory’s "She’s Got The Akshun” or Essex Green’s "Late Great Cassiopia” but how did I miss hearing Spent? Or the gorgeous track from Ganger? Why did I never pay any attention to Guv’ner? If you are old enough to know this label well it’s a great study guide. And if you’re looking for a road trip sound track this summer, you couldn’t do better. (Merge)