Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Merchandise - (Strange Songs) In The Dark (2010)/Children of Desire (2012)

Artist: Merchandise 
Album: (Strange Songs) In The Dark
Release: 2010
Label: Katorga Works, Drugged Conscious

1. Loss
2. I Locked The Door
3. Foolish (Her Song)
4. I Get Lost
5. Worthless Apology
6. In The Dark
Artist: Merchandise
Album: Children Of Desire
Release: 2012
Label: Katorga Works

1. Thin Air
2. Time
3. Become What You Are
4. In Nightmare Room
5. Satellite
6. Roser Park

So to say I've been slacking hard on this blog is an understatement. I appreciate all of you that have dug through past posts in my absence. Focusing on such small niches of music so intensely for a while has burnt me out  a bit, so what I plan to do is open the scope of this blog a bit (don't worry, 80's punk in all its various forms will still rule). To start here are two albums from a band very strongly influenced by the goth movement, but who have done something refreshing in a period where Christian Death and Discharge clones roam abound. I mean lets be serious, not everyone can pull it off like Deathcharge. This band, Merchandise, is probably not new to you, as even hoards of Pitchfork followers are discovering them, but I highly recommend both of these releases if you haven't given them the chance they deserve.

The first, '(Strange Songs) In the Dark', is more outwardly influenced by many other bands on this blog. Depressing, synth heavy, drum machine, dark crooning, its all there. But something else puts this band a step above many other contemporary acts. In fact two somethings. The first is that, while definitely residing in the wake of Ian Curtis, Adrian Borland (The Sound), etc, the vocalist for Merchandise, Carson Cox, has an identifiable, heart-wrenching voice in his own right. The second is that guitarist David Vassalotti writes guitar riffs of all kinds, so good they'll make you dumb. And when I say all kinds I mean it. Check out the last song on the Merchandise demo (pure 90's gold), his solo work under monikers Dads, D.Vassalotti (lo-fi noisy pop), or his work with Cult Ritual (riff dominated hardcore). All fantastic, and I haven't even delved into the Neon Blud discography quite yet (another solo project).

These two records will make you sad, they will make you sing along, they will make wish you could ever write a song so fucking good. Start with my favorite below. In my opinion the best of many great songs they have written. If you like what you hear, watch Katorga for represses, 'Strange Songs' already has been repressed once, and I'm sure Children of Desire isn't too far off.


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