Merchandise are a U.S. band from Tampa, Florida, that have been gaining traction since their first release in 2008. But what started out as a “shitty punk band” (frontman Carson Cox’s own words) has transformed into a multifaceted, multi-genred, and glistening rock/pop band, full of the depth usually lost in hardcore punk.
Their most recent release, the Totale Nite EP, released this past March (listen in full here.) on Night-People Records, is produced by revered studio magician Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 (favourites of bands like MGMT and Flaming Lips). The thirty-minute escapade of emotive post-punk influenced tracks shine with the distortion-heavy and often psychedelic sounds that Sonic Boom is known for. The noise elements of their hardcore beginnings are still there, with the band’s songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist, Cox, obviously favouring distortion as opposed to translucent producing. This combination adds a contrasting layer to Cox’s shimmering depth of the songwriting and Morrissey-like, downtrodden vocal style.
Comparisons to Joy Division, the Cure, and the Jesus and Mary Chain abound, and folkers Bob Dylan and Neil Young even make their way into the relaxing mix of thoughtful and layered blends of musical styles that is miles apart from the straightforward hardcore punk sound that gained them listeners in their early days. The live quartet’s bold growth has paid off: Totale Nite has received glowing reviews, and they’ve even toured with Copenhagen punkers and fellow NXNE highlights, Iceage after their second full-length release last year, Children of Desire. Touted by the Guardian as one of the more interesting bands in rock music today, and turning heads with what they Cox calls their best release yet, watching a band evolve before your eyes is sure to be one of the must-see experiences at NXNE this year.
Catch Merchandise at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern on Thursday, June 13 at 11 p.m.