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Merge, Hearpen launch online stores

Merge Records–the home of powerhouses Arcade Fire and Spoon as well as oldies but goodies like Neutral Milk Hotel, American Music Club, and the label's flagship band Superchunk–has followed indie stalwarts such as Sub Pop and Touch And Go this week by launching its own online store. Downloads are now available directly from Merge as mp3s or FLAC files, and many new and archival rarities are promised–including the long out-of-print Superchunk Clambake Series Volume One: Acoustic In-Stores East And West, Merge's first online exclusive.

Also this week, one of the first modern indie labels–Hearpen Records, founded in 1975 by David Thomas of the legendary Pere Ubu–announced that it has partnered with fellow Cleveland imprint Smog Veil to offer downloads of "rarities, live recordings, limited releases, and anything else of note by Pere Ubu and bands related to Pere Ubu or Ubu Projex." The ever-cantankerous Thomas, however, had a few words to say about the new online store:

"Be clear on this point: We don't like download audio. But here we are, living in the sort of world we live in. It's not our fault. It's your fault. You. Personally. You allowed this to happen. You are here looking for this sort of thing. We simply react to the marketplace. You create the marketplace."

P.S. to Miles Copeland: Please, please get your shit together and put Urgh! A Music War out on DVD. Please.

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