Iconic North Carolina record label Merge Records is turning 25 and celebrating with a large-scale festival July 23-26 in Durham and Carrboro. Merge 25 brings together some of the label’s favorite acts like Neutral Milk Hotel, Caribou, Destroyer and Superchunk — the latter featuring label founders Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan. McCaughan is famously (at least in our office) married to Andrea Reusing, chef of Chapel Hill restaurant Lantern.
“Cooking for musicians when they are on tour is fun,” she told us in an interview a few years back. “They are generally very hungry and willing to eat a lot more food than they really should. The biggest food people on Merge are probably Arcade Fire, She & Him and Wye Oak. When it works, we try to do the meal in two parts, some snacks and drinks early and then more of a real dinner after they play.”
So with this strong connection between Merge Records and food, it’s not surprising that they’ve organized a pretty kickass food-related event to coincide with the festival.
On July 25 from 3–5 p.m., The Dinner Party Download hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam will join Mac and Laura along with “house band” Teenage Fanclub at Nightlight in Chapel Hill for a taping of popular show that blends food, music and jokes on jokes on jokes. Funny guy Jon Wurster (The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling) and Mount Moriah songstress and bartender Heather McEntire will also participate in the afternoon of “humor and unconventional wisdom from public radio’s arts & leisure section.” Admission is free. We NYC-based Food Republic Merge fanboys are jealous.
Here's a Teenage Fanclub song to inspire you to head down to Chapel Hill this weekend: