The venerable independent label Merge Records is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with various festivities, among them a music festival that went down this past summer in Merge’s North Carolina home base. Another thing they’re doing is Born Under A Good Sign, a vinyl subscription series featuring four all-new full-length LPs from Merge artists. First up was A Merge Group Performs “Heroes”, on which an all-star band of Merge artists covered the David Bowie classic. Then came label founders Superchunk’s AF (Acoustic Foolish), a reimagining of one of their best-loved albums.
Today the label has announced the third installment of Born Under A Good Sign: The ragtag Austin indie band A Giant Dog, current Merge signees, have covered the entirety of Arcade Fire’s 2007 sophomore LP Neon Bible, which came out on Merge in what now seems like a different life. The album is hitting all digital platforms at midnight tonight and will be available on vinyl at select retailers in October.
Until then, they’re sharing their version of “Intervention,” one of the most gradiose Neon Bible tracks. Check it out below along with a statement from the band.
Here’s the good word from A Giant Dog’s Sabrina Ellis:
This year, Merge invited us to be part of their subscription series. They granted us a budget and said we could cover the entirety of any album we want, since the beginning of time. We debated which album to cover; we were full of ideas. Sheer Heart Attack, Tapestry, Captain Fantastic, Off The Wall, Purple Rain, such classics.
Andrew [Cashen] insisted we take on Neon Bible because he believed we could do something cool and unique with it. Throughout the process, we learned that Neon Bible is a great album, that Arcade Fire made it with thematic focus and a cohesive sound. These discoveries will certainly influence our next AGD record.
We found our own groove on each song during two five-hour rehearsals in my living room, then went to studio with Stuart Sikes.
The themes in the album, of outrage at U.S. leadership in the early 2000s, and a need to escape our social climate, sadly, remain pertinent today.
Recording a cover album, we felt like actors in a movie. Taking someone else’s lines and embodying those emotions, and expressing those ideas through our own selves, made us portals of human expression… and that’s why the album artwork is an open butthole.*
*The awesome butthole artwork was conceived by our drummer Danny and made possible by our friend Jennine Turow.
09/27 Austin, TX @ The ABGB
12/14 Austin, TX @ Barracuda
Neon Bible is out digitally 9/20 on Merge. For physical copies, either you already subscribed or you’ll have to keep an eye out at your local retailer. A Giant Dog’s most recent release was 2017’s Toy.