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Merchandise - After The End

Merchandise are back and will release a new album titled After The End on August 26 via 4AD.

They recorded and produced the album themselves (they got some mixing help from Gareth Jones) over a six-month period at the house they shared together in Tampa, just like they did with their previous albums. The band has expanded from the trio of Carson Cox, David Vassalotti, and Patrick Brady, to a 5-piece, adding Chris Horn and Elsner Nino.

Clearly this is a new chapter for them, and you can hear this very clearly in the album’s first single “Little Killer.” The band heads in a more clean-cut pop direction that really hits its stride and runs with it. That guitar riff is simply irresistible. Throw in those trusty vocals from Carson Cox and we got a real winner on our hands.

Enjoy “Little Killer” and check out some new tour dates below.
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Merchandise

Merchandise, who are newly signed to 4AD, are already gearing up their first release on their new label. They’re releasing a song called “Begging For Your Life / In The City Light” on a 12″ vinyl that is limited to 1000 copies. The song actually appeared on a limited split tour cassette along with Chelsea Light Moving that was released last year.

If you didn’t get to hear it, that’s understandable. But now is your chance. The original version is 14-minutes long, and that’s the version that will appear on the vinyl release. However the version the band released today is the edit, a truncated four minute version that gives you the meat and bones of the track.

A new album is on the way soon.

Check out the track below and pre-order the vinyl right here. Read the rest of this entry »

[new]: Merchandise – Who Are You?

By Will Oliver, March 7th 2013

Merchandise

Merchandise have released a new song called “Who Are You?” which will appear on their upcoming album Totale Nite which comes out April 2nd on Night-People Records. The band seem to have let in new americana elements into their sound with the addition of harmonicas and stomped-out drumming.

Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 (producer of Panda Bear’s Tomboy) mastered the album. Here’s “Anxiety’s Door” a track we already heard from the album. Listen to “Who Are You?” below.

[new]: Merchandise – Anxiety’s Door

By Will Oliver, January 11th 2013 — with 6 comments

Merchandise

Merchandise are back with a new song titled “Anxietys’s Door.” It’s off their Totale Nite EP, their rather quick follow-up to last years Children Of Desire.

Standing just shy of 7-minutes, “Anxiety’s Door” is a tight expansion of the sound that the Florida group offered on Children Of Desire. The band’s foggy 80s sound has a big Brit punk-rock influence, slightly between Echo & The Bunnymen and Joy Division. It’s quality.

Totale Nite comes out via Night People later this spring.

Wild Nothing, Merchandise, Mac DeMarco @ Bowery Ballroom (October 21, 2012)

By Will Oliver, October 25th 2012 — with 1 comment

Seeing a show at Bowery Ballroom with an impressive 1-2-3 punch such as Wild Nothing, Merchandise, and Mac DeMarco was the perfect way to gracefully leave CMJ behind.

Mac DeMarco started things with a very impressive set of songs that were written with many hooks and smooth guitar licks involved. The man is a riot on stage, cracking jokes and goofing around at every second. But when it comes down to the music he doesn’t mess around. Even when he brings his girl on stage kisses her and precedes to carry her as he finishes his last song. Everything about this guy left me impressed.

Merchandise, the 3-piece from Florida, are a band we have been hearing about for a while. They’re album Children Of Desire is pretty solid, and I was looking forward to seeing them live. “Time” was spot-on money live, but the rest could often be hit or miss. The band sounded great at some points, then muddy at others. Not sure if it’s the sound guys fault but something seemed off with the sound. I wasn’t always sold, but when the band did hit their sweet spot, man they can groove. I’ll give them another go next time in town, because something seemed off.

Last but certainly not least, were Wild Nothing. It’s been a little over two years since my first time seeing them, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect the lights out knockout performance from Jack Tatum and the rest of the band. They sounded simply incredible and on point to every degree. A beautiful light/color display but the band in a blend of delicate pink and sea blue that helped me get even further immersed in their sound. They ran through everything you could have asked for, giving an undeniable batch of energy and life to the songs that you don’t quite hear on record.

I knew the band would have improved a bit, but I didn’t expect the stellar performance that they delivered. Wild Nothing have grown tremendous amounts. Go see them live immediately if you get the shot.

Check out photo galleries for all three bands below.
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Tycho at Brooklyn Steel [night 2] (May 4, 2017)

By Anthony Bauer, May 16th 2017

It may be hard to believe but, the last time we saw Tycho in New York City was three years ago back in the fall of 2014. We were there for his stellar set at Terminal 5 and were beyond thrilled to hear he was returning to NYC for not one, but a two-night run at the newly opened Brooklyn Steel.

The mastermind behind Tycho, Scott Hansen, is out on the road with his band in support of his absolutely fantastic new album Epoch which was released digitally early last year and physically this year via Ghostly International.  Along for the ride and kicking things off for the night, was Thai-surf infused funk trio, Khruangbin.

Khruangbin

The first time I heard of Khruangbin was back in 2013, on Bonobo’s Late Night Tales curated album mix and was immediately hooked. When I saw they were opening for Tycho, I knew the night would be something special. The three-piece’s chilled out vibes groves along on a relaxed pace that never feels rushed, and was a perfect match for opening up the show. Standout tracks from their set included, “A Calf Born in Winter,” “Dern Kala,” and “People Everywhere (Still Alive).” The last full length album the band put out was released in 2015 but we can’t wait to see them return to New York City and can’t wait to see what’s next for the band.

Tycho

Over the past few album releases, Hansen began including live instrumentation to his songs that have helped give each song a slightly warmer feel and not so cut and paste (sonically speaking). What’s truly incredible is to see just how well that studio recorded mindset translates to a live environment, especially with only a four-piece band. Hansen, with the rest of the band, are able to seamlessly reproduce and mesh countless computer-generated elements with live instrumentation to the point where you don’t know where one element begins and where another ends.

Scott Hansen

The live band consists of Zachary Brown on guitar and bass, Billy Kim on synths and bass, Rory O’Connor on drums and the mastermind behind Tycho, Scott Hansen alternating between guitar and synths (or both at the same time). The band played a slightly extended set full of his most popular songs, with some old classics, as well as a few surprises. Hansen didn’t talk to the crowd much and mostly let the music do the talking but towards the middle of the first set he hopped on the mic and introduced the first surprise, Thomas Mullarney from Beacon as they ran through a remix Beacon worked on of the song “See.”

Thomas Mullarney from Beacon

Before I go any further, I just want to take a quick moment to remind you of the origins of Tycho, if you don’t already know the story. What started out as a side project for Hansen, has turned into a full-fledge live band that now tours the world. Before Tycho became a full time thing, Hansen was a graphic designer for 14 years. He still gets to do design work, especially for Tycho, by outfitting the project with some of the best looking and most cohesive graphics in the game. If you haven’t already seen it, I’d highly recommend reading the in-depth story behind the album art for Epoch he posted on his blog (you won’t be sorry). By designing everything himself (i.e., album art, t-shirts, posters, various other tour merchandise, photo passes, projected visuals for his live set, etc), the overall aesthetic of Tycho remains consistent wherever it may be. This even goes down to the granular level of the projected visuals during his set – specific songs off certain albums that contain similar color schemes, from album art, to the videos playing, which is such crazy attention to detail, I’m not sure anyone even notices it.

Tycho with ‘Montana’ single artwork

The last song in the first set was the title track off the most recent album, Epoch. The near six-minute track flows in and out of a driving baseline that thumps the entire way through the song and slowly builds up each sonic element. Its position within the setlist was perfect – the track felt more lively than the studio recording, which had everybody in the venue dancing along and definitely left the crowd wanting more. The strangest thing happened next, which was a literal intermission. This wasn’t an encore break, but a legit break of at least ten minutes that the band took before coming back out to play six more songs before the actual encore. After the break, Hansen hopped back on the mic when they came back and asked the crowd, Hhey guys! how was your break?”

The second set after the intermission started off with the dreamy standout track from Epoch, “Receiver” which hit the ground running and never looked back. The then 1-2-3 ending of the second set was an unapologetic force to be reckoned with, consisting of his most recent hits “Awake,” “Horizon,” and closing things out with Epoch single, “Division.”  The band walked off stage and then returned again for a one song encore of “Montana,” a song off his last album that was the perfect way to cap the night. The song was a louder, more dance-driven take on the song that had an energy to it that was absolutely unmatched to the studio recording. At the end of the song, Hansen and the rest of the band put down their instruments, waved to the crowd and said goodnight. When we saw the band in 2014 we didn’t think it’d be this long between shows in New York City, so we’re hoping Tycho comes back really soon.

Find Tycho’s setlist posted below, along with photos from his set and openers Khruangbin.

Tycho Setlist:
1. Glider
2. Spectre
3. Daydream
4. Source
5. PIP
6. A Walk
7. L
8. See
9. Hours
10. Epoch
– intermission-
11. Receiver
12. Ascension
13. Rings
14. Awake
15. Horizon
16. Divison

Encore:

17. Montana

Khruangbin:

Tycho:

How Musicians Continue to Make a Living Amid Rampant Piracy

By Jane Brown, May 20th 2016 — with 1 comment

spotify_featured

Taylor Swift made huge waves in 2014 when she decided to pull all of her music off of Spotify’s streaming service. Her motive was one all musicians and even real fans of music, in general, can understand: Spotify’s pay rates are terrible. For an artist to earn even a meager living from streaming their material, that material would have to be listened to millions of times every day. Even artists seen as highly profitable (like Swift), barely earn anything from Spotify’s royalty structure.

For many, streaming services like Spotify are the new form of piracy. After all, when you can listen to something for free in perpetuity without it taking up tons of space on your hard drive or worrying about embedded malware (like you do when you pirate via torrent), why would you stick with the old (and illegal) way of getting the music you want?

Streaming and piracy are real problems for many musicians, especially those who are hoping to make a living from their art without the backing of a major label. So how do they keep their work safe? Is there such a thing as creating something that is piracy-proof?

Security Issues

As many musicians’ popularity grows, the risk of being hacked and having demos, and other not-for-public-consumption files, leaked grows as well. It is imperative that, as a musician, you protect your data and keep your servers safe. Solid network security from Trend Micro is the best tool to have in your arsenal against hackers getting into your stuff and releasing it without your permission.

Security isn’t just important for your own server and the devices you use to work on/upload material. It is also important for any service through which you offer your songs. Making sure that sites like BandCamp, CDBaby, etc are secure is of vital importance to the security of your work and income.

Finally, having security at shows and on tour is also important. A lot of pirated material is created by people who film events and then upload that footage to sites like YouTube. Unofficial concert videos are another source of piracy that many musicians forget about (especially since releasing your music on YouTube is a great way to grow your audience). It’s also difficult to police because automatic cloud backups allow hopeful pirates to keep their files even if a security officer makes them delete the file from the device itself.

Obviously, you can’t confiscate every ticket holder’s phone. You can, however, ask that they put their phones away and make it known that security will remove anyone who tries to film the event.

Make People Want to Buy

Perhaps the best way to secure your files, music, etc. is to make people want to buy what you’re selling. Amanda Palmer gave a fantastic Ted Talk (and wrote a fantastic book) about this exact subject and it’s worth a watch if this is something with which you’ve been struggling.
Believe it or not, there is more to making people want to buy your music than simply creating good music. To encourage people to buy instead of steal your work, you need to form a connection to your audience. Unlike major labels that encourage space between artist and fan, interacting with listeners and helping them to feel more like friends than fans will do far more to discourage pirating than most of your other efforts.

Alternative Income

Finally, it is imperative that you not rely solely on your music sales to earn your living. If it were possible to earn a living via song and album sales alone, bands would rarely tour. Touring and putting on a great live show is one fantastic way to recoup income you might have lost to piracy.

Of course, touring is also incredibly expensive. This is why so many musicians also sell branded merchandise like shirts, buttons, stickers, bags, etc. Merchandise sales offer the largest profit margin and are the easiest to fulfill, especially if you work with third party providers like CafePress, Zazzle, RedBubble, etc.

The simple fact is that piracy is something that is going to happen. It has been a reality since fans found ways to replicate albums on their own. Nothing is completely piracy-proof. Still there are steps you can take to secure your files and to recoup the income that is lost to it. Hopefully, this article will provide you with some ideas as to how to do that.

Best Songs of 2014

By Will Oliver, February 20th 2015 — with 1 comment

WAWSTSFsongs

(artwork by Dana Pacifico)

Apparently I got Chinese New Year confused with the end of 2014, as it took me until now to finally share my list of favorite songs from 2014. It’s late, but you better bet it’s a true indication of my favorite songs of 2014. These are the 100 songs that I played and enjoyed the most and are still playing on regular rotation. They came from the most established artists like Beck, as well as newcomers such as Alvvays, Leon Bridges and Flyte. It’s a bit all over the map stylistically, which is a good thing if you ask me.

I’ve posted the list of songs below from 100-1. I’ve turned the entire list into a spotify playlist (keep in mind some tracks weren’t on spotify so if that’s the case, just come back here and you can click the song it will take you to the tracks soundcloud/youtube page). Head to the bottom of the page for the spotify playlist, or just head here.

With that said, here are my favorite songs that were released in 2014, finally:
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Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have been favorites around these parts for some time. Whenever they release new music, I just know it’s going to be one of the year’s best. They’ve provided me with plenty of great memories, whether listening to their albums at home, or enjoying their energetic performances live. Now it’s our turn to give back to them.

They just recently completed the production of their new music video for “Fly By Wire.” It was actually directed by one of our own photographers, Chloe Locarro.

The production of the video is complete, but they are trying to raise funds to help cover the costs of post-production and other out of pocket expenses. They have set up an IndieGoGo Campaign page where fans can help get the video funded. There are different donation levels you can choose, which come with various prizes and signed merchandise and goodies. Here’s a video from Chloe explaining the whole deal:

I got to preview the video, and it’s great. It really captures the emotional essence of the song, looking exactly how you’d want it’s visual representation to look. It really resonated with me, and I guarantee it will do the same for you. If you’re a fan of these guys, nows your chance to really help out.

Again, the donation page can be found here.





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