Merchandise just released Rush of Blood, a short film meant to accompany their recent LP for Night People, Totale Night. The 15-minute film (created and shot by Merchandise frontman Carson Cox) creeps through spooky voyeur's-eye-views of urban mundanity, isolated gunmen, and a million-colors day dream before the curtain falls. Though it accompanies Totale Night, it features an original score by the band's guitarist David Vassalotti-- fluctuating between strange drones and spiritualized guitar strums, accentuating the subtle tension of the imagery. You can stream the whole thing below via Pitchfork.tv.
Where "Anxiety's Door", the first single from Merchandise's forthcoming EP, Totale Night, expanded and darkened the template on Children of Desire, new single "Who Are You?" alters it by introducing a muggier, sludgier sensibility that's a little more "When The Levee Breaks" than "Bastards of Young". It's not entirely jarring per se, but is certainly a new atmosphere for the band that lays somewhere between the depressed weight of the blues, the smooth croon of '80s alternative, and a muted but persistent little bit of scrawling noise.
Punks love Tampa, FL's Merchandise, but they've always had more in common with the heavy melodies of the 'Mats or the darkened ennui of the Bunnymen than with the scree of hardcore. New single "Anxiety's Door", available for stream below, exemplifies that same gentle thrash where emotions run high and instrumentation runs smooth.
Their forthcoming full-length, Totale Night, is coming out this spring on Night-People.
These are (most) of our favorite tunes of 2012, offered lovingly in downloadable form. Thank you for reading and hanging out with us this year, and we look forward to Round 2 in 2013.
Actress: "The Lord's Graffiti"
Altered Boys: "Reality Check"
Amen Dunes: "Ethio Song"
Andy Stott: "Numb"
Angel Haze: "New York"
Baauer: "Harlem Shake"
Blanche Blanche Blanche: "She's Adopted"
Blues Control: "Iron Pigs"
Burial: "Ashtray Wasp"
Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland: "The Narcissist"
DIIV: "How Long Have You Known"
DJ Rashad: "Kush Ain't Loud"
Evian Christ: "Fuck It None of Y'all Don't Rap"
Future Shuttle: "Astro Curio"
Gorgeous Children: "Splash Dem"
Harry Taussig: "Fate Only Knows Twice"
Holly Herndon: "Fade"
Holy Other: "Love Some1"
Huerco S.: "No Jack"
Imperial Topaz: "In the Waves"
Inner Tube: "MR"
Iron Galaxy: "Attention Seeker"
Itasca: "Marcy Rain"
Jam City: "Her"
Julia Holter: "Marienbad"
King Felix: "SPRING 01"
Kuedo: "Work, Live & Sleep in Collapsing Space"
Kuhrye-oo: "Give In (For the Fame)"
Laurel Halo: "Light and Space"
Lil Ugly Mane: "Bitch I'm Lugubrious"
LOL Boys: "Changes"
Mac DeMarco: "Baby's Wearing Blue Jeans"
Merchandise: "Become What You Are"
Mo Kolours: "Mini Culcha"
Motion Sickness of Time Travel: "The Dream"
Mount Eerie: "Ocean Roar"
Mykki Blanco & The Mutant Angels: "Join My Militia"
Outer Limitz: "I Kontact"
Para One: "Wake Me Up"
Parquet Courts: "Borrowed Time"
Prince Rama: "So Destroyed"
Pure Bathing Culture: "Gainesviile"
Scott and Charlene's Wedding: "Gammy Leg"
Shintaro Sakamoto: "Gleam of Hope"
Shoxx: "Sludge Seed"
Slava: "I've Got Feelings Too"
SpaceGhostPurrp: "Suck a Dick 2012"
Splash: "Ever Before"
Sun Araw and the Congos: "Happy Song"
TOPS: "Go Away"
Traxman: "Footworkin' On Air"
Tyvek: "Wayne County Roads"
US Girls: "Jack"
Vatican Shadow: "Cairo is a Haunted City"
Zebra Katz: "Imma Read"
Tampa trio Merchandise see "art" and "punk" as potentially interchangeable words, a sentiment that resonates throughout Children of Desire, their 2012 LP for Brooklyn label Katorga Works. The six-song collection might be the year's best post-punk record, an album informed by endless night terrors, an equal love for jazz and Dylan and and hardcore and noise, and, more generally, a band-wide addiction to the consumption and creation of music, film, and literature.
2012 was a transitional year for Merchandise. Its members had been playing in Florida hardcore bands for years, but for some reason (boredom and frustration with the punk community?) decided it was time to start responding to press requests and inqueries from major-indie labels and booking agents. "Entering that bubble is funny," singer Carson Cox confided to Ad Hoc over the phone. "It's just strange. We have double lives. We've kind of always had double lives, but now we have really hilarious double lives."
As equally inspired as Desire's songs is Desire in the Mouth of Dogs, a prose companion piece penned by guitarist Dave Vassalotti. Videography is an important medium to the group too. Yesterday, coinciding with the record's reissue and first widescale distribution, the band posted a self-shot, stripped-down version of the album's longest track, "Become What You Are." In keeping with the band's more expansive aspirations this year, it's is their first foray away from lo-fi video. "With our videos, we're kind of moving into new territory, where we're doing things that are cleaner and more intentional," said Cox. "We're on tour for most of the next year, but we have more video plans. It's been a big part of the band. It's just as much a passion as putting out the records to me at this point."
Merchandise plays Ad Hoc and Self-Titled's Art Basel showcase this Friday night in Miami. In advance of the show, we called Carson, Dave guitarist Vassalotti, and bassist Pat Brady to talk about their most memoriable experiences in in 2012, the various film and writing projects they're working on, and Florida in general. When I dialed them on Sunday afternoon, they were collectively reeling with excitement from the insane Napalm Death concert they had seen the night before.