Merge is celebrating Record Store Day 2014 with reissues of two of their favorite EPs from our back catalog, each pressed on 12-inch vinyl for the first time ever:Breadwinner’s Burner and Spoon’s Love Ways.
Record Store Day is a yearly celebration in which independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day, and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances.
For more information on Record Store Day and where you can find a store near you, visit recordstoreday.com.
The date on the label of Burner—Breadwinner’s first single—says 9/90. That could be when it was released or, more likely, when it was recorded, but it doesn’t matter because it was all over by late 1991. Only a fool thinks bands last forever and make a living, but that’s not why bands like Breadwinner existed in the first place. They were there to make music that had never had a voice before, and they were willing to burn their fingers playing it until it was time to trap it in amber.
Breadwinner were part of a much bigger and challenging music scene in post-hardcore Richmond, VA. You can hear some influences such as King Crimson, SOD, Jesus Lizard (who they did two tours with), and early Melvins creep into the songs, but nothing is really that obvious. It truly was a band that was the sum of its parts, whose goal was to make music that made you feel something, and that “something” was very, very heavy. It’s no hyperbole to say that anyone who saw them play live was changed and that the music you once thought was heavy…mmmm, not so much anymore.
Loosed from the demanding corporate machinery and rescued by the vagabond cool-mom-and-dad misfits at Merge, Spoon was nonetheless subjected to that hoary cliché of major-label short-sightedness: the dialed-up record. Merge wanted an EP, something short and quick and easy, to get out there to prime the waters for their amazing full-length debut, Girls Can Tell. And that’s what Love Ways was. An assignment. A task. Makework.
Assigned in April and in stores by October, Love Ways is five songs that effortlessly mine a certain Anglophile subset of classic rock, from Squeeze to Elvis Costello to the Zombies to Lennon and Ono to the Rolling Stones. “Chips and Dip,” the only song that had a life pre-dating the assignment, is a tight cry of longing for connection bathed in Double Fantasy reverb. “The Figures of Art” is a Stones ramble that opens with an immortal epigram: “It’s easier to drink on an empty stomach than eat on a broken heart.”