Never thought much of Merchandise. Sure, the Tampa band had been all over your hipper music outlets for the past couple years, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you why. Someone heard something, to be sure. There was a bidding war for their services and 4AD came out on top.
Now, along with that new label, comes a new sound. It’s less indebted to the gnarlier strains of post-punk than some of their previous work. The link between Merchandise the band and “Merchandise” the Fugazi track has been effectively destroyed, and if you didn’t know better, you’d swear they were English.
Today’s track, “Little Killer,” is vintage downer rock, the likes of which crossed over to these shores and populated college rock playlists in the ’80s. It’s elegant and sincere, and a tad too safe for these ears. A better example of what these lads can do in their current configuration is the three way split LP they did with Destruction Unit and Milk Music for Record Store Day. That one will have you believing in Merchandise. Look for Merchandise’s 4AD debut, titled, After the End, on August 26th.
There was a time when John Sharkey (Clockcleaner/Puerto Rico Flowers) was the most hated man in the Philadelphia music scene. It’s true. Look it up. You’d never know it from the sounds of his new trio, Deep Blue, with Andrew Mackie Nelson on bass (Ceremony/Paint it Black) and Mike Sneeringer on drums (ex-Purling Hiss). “Just Another Night,” is practically pleasant as Sharkey’s smooth, yes I said it, smooth baritone practically glides over of a chunky, fuzz-friendly melody. Dark Blue’s “Just Another Night” 7″ will be released July 15th on Jade Tree. Digital downloads are available now.
Rat First is pretty much exactly what you’d expect to get when two of Sub Pop’s modern punk brigade join forces as No Age’s Randy Randall (guitar) and Pissed Jeans’ Sean McGuinness (drums) go old-school, brutal on their debut track, “Disrupt Yr DNA.” There’s none of the studio trickery No Age are known for — Just shredding and growling.
Think piece alert: White Lung aren’t the only punk band screaming like the Riot Girl movement never faded away. Priest have something to shriek about, too, on their Don Giovanni Records release, Bodies and Control and Money and Power due out next Tuesday.