Various Artists

Survive and Advance, Vol. 2: A Merge Records Compilation

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Merge Records showcases its 2003 lineup of artists on this compilation. From old-school punks like the Buzzcocks and the Clean to newer artists like the Clientele and Destroyer, Merge covers a lot of indie rock ground. Of the 15 songs here, only four have been previously released: three are from Merge releases (the Clean, Buzzcocks, and Pram) and the fourth is a rare B-side from the Clientele. Some of the highlights found among the remaining tracks are Lambchop's live version of "The Gusher," an alternate mix of Spoon's "Don't Let It Get You Down" from the excellent Kill the Moonlight record, Portastatic's beautiful "Gray Robins," and Superchunk's energetic cover of the Clean's "Anything Could Happen." The only song that falls a little flat is East River Pipe's bland "Hey Ma, What's the Point?" The disc is a fine representation of the Merge aesthetic and a very pleasant listening experience, too.