Back in print and readily available (for perhaps the first time), we have Merchandise's debut LP (Strange Songs) In The Dark. The album, recorded in early 2010, marks a decisive break from the band's straightforward early post-punk EP's, moving instead toward the more experimental studio-based pop constructions that would be further explored in the subsequent Children of Desire and Totale Nite albums. (Strange Songs) was recorded by the core duo of Carson Cox and David Vassalotti. Despite the lo-fi nature of this home recording, there are tons of hooks to be found amidst the haze (notably "I Locked the Door" and "Worthless Apology"). Occasionally veering into abstractions, the album as a whole is a piece that warrants listening as such. It's a sad bastard of a record, but one with plenty of range and ideas. Not rehash but reimagination. Many moments on (Strange Songs) In The Dark (especially the moody "Foolish" and "In The Dark") foreshadow Merchandise's eventual signing to the 4AD label. Fans of the band's later albums will find much to enjoy on this early effort.[[Originally a split release between DIY punk labels Katorga Works and Drugged Conscience Records.]]
Merchandise are a trio from Tampa, FL. Having formed in 2008, the band has evolved steadily yet remained the same core group of collaborators playing music that generally falls under the vague umbrella of "post-punk." It's members have toured the country for years and years, playing storage units and basements around the country in bands such as Cult Ritual and Neon Blud."Children of Desire," the band's second formal LP, is also their most fully -realized statement to date. Entirely self-recorded and self-produced in the band's Tampa home, the record sees the band expanding their sonic palette in a unique and assured way. Uptempo pop numbers and dance-friendly post-punk tracks blend seemlessly with explorations into maudlin balladry, krautrock texture, and lots of noise.