Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance This is an update to an article that we ran on Durham Cool back in 2017. On World Cafe’s Sense Of Place trip to North Carolina, we discussed the DIY beginnings and subsequent growth of Durham, N.C.’s Merge Records with co-founders Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan. Founded in 1989 as a way to release their band Superchunk’s music — and, later, albums by their friends — the label has become a powerhouse thanks in part to artists like Spoon and Arcade Fire. Hear McCaughan and Ballance discuss Merge — as well as Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill — in the segment above. You can also enjoy a Spotify playlist of highlights from the Merge Records catalog.