Customer Reviews: Merge Records Spring Sampler 2012
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on October 9, 2012
The songs on this sampler range from hard-driving rock to soft and mellow. Most of the songs were very enjoyable, and I'll listen to them often. Some songs on this album have the potential to become big hits, and a couple of the songs are just a little...well, strange.

To be sure that I get a good impression of each song presented by indie artists, I like to listen to each song a couple of times in a row. My impressions:

The rhythm and music of "Andrew in Drag" is good (a little of a Caribbean flavor), and the message is original.

The intro to "Dead Red Eyes" is soft and almost magically surreal with keyboards, and then it switches to a song with an energetic guitar and percussion-driven beat. But the lyrics are a bit odd.

"Electric Band" is a nice, up-beat song, played by an electric band. It's nice to listen to.

"The First Time I Ran Away" is very nice and mellow. It is a very beautiful and dreamy song with an acoustic guitar and echoing lyrics.

"Forever and a Day" is sentimental, with a sweet message. But the song presentation is, in a word, awful. It's supposed to be a love song and a proposal, but the lead singer sounds like he's so depressed that he can barely drag himself out of bed. The tempo drags badly, and the melody is flat. The song would benefit greatly from a different singer. (Sorry, Stephin!)

"Friends of Friends" is interesting and fresh.

"Gone Tomorrow" is smooth and soothing at the beginning. Around the middle, it switches to an instrumental, and it's almost like a different song, although it is very loosely tied back (musically) to the introduction. Maybe it's supposed to be like drifting along the river to a new location (?).

"A Good Idea" has a nice sound and is energetic, but it has an annoying screechy guitar solo in the middle of the song.

"Heaven" has a slow and soothing tempo. It's very relaxing.

"Heavy Hours" reminds me a bit of Bob Dylan, but anger is gone. (That's a good thing.)

"Out From Inside" is an enjoyable pop up-tempo song.

"Researching the Blues" is a jammin' hard rock song with strong vocals and a great guitar solo in the middle. Great music!

"Second Bird of Paradise" This is a very different song. I had to listen to it a couple of times to get the feel for it, but it really grew on me. It is a slow-paced song and the lyrics are (deliberately) dissonant (clashing), as is the violin. The music provides an effect almost as if a bird is soaring along on air currents. It's a very interesting effect.

All in all, it's worth a download and a listen. Since it's free, if you don't like it, you can always delete it.
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on August 26, 2012
Track 1 is Andrew in Drag by The Magnetic Fields. Cute light weight pop song about loving a girl, Andrew in Drag. (I dunno)

A Good Idea by Sugar. Nice Indie Pop tune w/Alt. lead vocal, aggressive distorted guitar, strong package w/some cool intensity. Very nice.

Researching the Blues by Redd Kross. Very nice Midnight Oil opening that gets louder and better. Neat snarling lead vocal over tight drums and jerky guitar. Chorus is the song title, some great guitar, this song rocks, love it.

Heaven by Eleanor Friedberger. I am sure Ms Friedberger has better than material than this plodding, lightweight tune with numbingly boring/repetitive lyrics.

Second Bird of Paradise by The Rosebuds. Mellow, atmospheric indie number with thoughtful sound, lyrics and progression. Nice.

Dead Red Eyes by Archers of Loaf. Simple keyboard behind bare male vocal until past half way through, bass guitar plays, vocal maintains, drums join in, that's all folks. According to Wikipedia these guys do much more.

Track 7 Electric Band by Wild Flag. Classic indie sound, female vocal over punchy band making legit sounds. Very nice.

Out From Inside by Imperial Teen. Very nice slick indie pop sound, clean vocal harmonies over low key instrument play that complements the song. Very nice, better than very nice.

Friends of Friends by Hospitality. Pop female vocal over neat band play that cannot escape this B side song. Light weight poppy unoriginal sound that you may love.

The First Time I Ran Away by M. Ward. Matthew Steven Ward, smooth echo vocal over guitar and keyboards. Very cool folk/singer songwriter vibe, high quality production nice song.

Forever and a Day by Stephin Merritt. Somewhat unique bass s/sw vocal slightly reminds me of Jonathan Richman although less annoying w/under 2 minute song.

Gone Tomorrow by Lambchop (Kurt Wagner et al). Alternative Country per Wikipedia that compares his songwriting w/Barry White, Curtis Mayfield & Marvin Gaye. This song does break for non country noises, slides into kinda cool keyboard play and strings however comparing w/such soul master seems a stretch. I will listen to more of Mr. Wagner.

Last track Heavy Hours by Crooked Fingers. Slow mellow s/sw number guitar and singing. Myspace lists genre as Concrete.

Very good free mp3 download from Amazon featuring upbeat and mellow mostly Indie songs. Quality production and talent peering out on nearly every song. Not all for me but glad I listened to every one. Download and delete.
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on August 16, 2013
A pity it had crappy songs, I thought it had some swag, but the only track I really loved was "Andrew in Drag".
FYI: You can sing this review to the tune of andrew in drag. Yeah. You're welcome.
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on January 5, 2013
I always love everybody they put on their samplers. And it's free which is both good and bad because then you end up becoming a huge fan of every one on the album and have to then buy all of their albums! Thanks Merge!
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on December 19, 2012
You can't really complain about free music, right? The tunes on here are a mixed bag, like most samplers. But unlike most label samplers, it is full of established artists. Definitely worth a listen.
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on January 18, 2013
This was a pleasant surprise!

I mainly downloaded the CD because M. Ward was featured but I found myself liking many of the other sure can't beat the price ;)
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on October 14, 2012
I wish Amazon allowed for 1/2 stars because this album really deserves 3.5 stars. Merge Samplers are my favorite overall and anytime you can get an M.Ward song for free do it!
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on September 25, 2012
I love all the merge samplers. In my opinion there's not a bad song in the bunch. Nothing too heavy nothing too light like baby bears porridge it's all just right.
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on September 9, 2012
It being free this is a great album, if I would have payed ; not so much. I like most of the songs on this album, there's only one or two I strongly dislike.
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on June 14, 2013
Merge is one of my favorite labels and this sampler is a great compilation of the artists they support. It's hard to go wrong with free music.
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