Merchandise On Unknown Sundays 2023

Goods to be bought and sold.  That’s the very definition of the word “merchandise,” if you were to look it up.  It’s like saying “stuff,” and that can certainly be an extremely boring, blasé choice of words, depending on your topic of conversation or marketing stance.  Not exactly a keeper of a word, right?  Well let’s take a look at some band names in the past that have reached a bombastic level of achievement from such boring marketing terms, first, before we get into the Merchandise.

Nothing, the band literally calls their website www.wearenothing.com a marketer’s nightmare most of the time, right?  Blah Blah Blah, out of Chicago started getting some good ballroom rock buzz in 2015 with a sound that hit some Smith-like chords.  But how do you do a review, when there’s tendencies to want to play on words…careful!  What about the band called Record Company? And a few more bands or artists with names that don’t tell you much—or don’t say much; Hum, Common, The The, and Plain White T’s(Yes, that’s right this article back on October 2nd of 2016 sparked one of our first YouTube shows, That’s Your Band Name?!).

“Bring in Merchandise.” Record executive calls out un-excitedly, as if he’s planning on a short meeting. “Guys, you’re clever. A fugazi song, right?”  The band nods, expecting the worst.  “Guys, you have a wishy washy sonic sound that could be so tremendous.  You have this ever-changing sound-scape that allures a certain low-pop listener and bewitches the traditional recording process enough to be interesting, and you bring…from what I’m hearing…a variety of interpretations in a live setting.”  The band nods, again, feeling maybe a bit better.  “Cool, but are you really, Merchandise?”

Big long pause in the room…

An intern timidly says, “I want to buy their album.”

I guess the point be made, right? Whether this was somewhat the question back in 2009-2010 or not, it’s what I was thinking, when I saw their name come up on releases this past week (again, please remember this is October 2nd of 2016).  I was trying to recall if I had listened to them or not—or identify the sound from the title of their band, but I got nothing.  Then I listened to A Corpse Wired For Sound, and it didn’t matter whether I could place their song or previous albums from my musical recollection, as I was going to go on a great musical journey filled with fantastic impressions in sound and lyrics that gave a feeling like had discovered a fresh and expansive hardcore-punk Depeche Mode.  Then, I went back to After the End and Children of Desire and Totale Nite, getting a much fuller taste of the backward evolution of their own musical exploration and the many goods (from a variety of styles and emotions, changing completely from album to album–unlike most recording artists) that are available from Merchandise.  There is no doubt that the past home-recording style and snarly aggressiveness has faded over time, but they still hold very fast to being semi-genreless in their selective musical conscience.

I don’t know whether you should go forward or backwards on the Merchandise rack of music.  Will you be more turned by their mild manner of one record or their electronic noise with earnest words? I cannot guide you..it would be foolish.  But, I will say this, “A Corpse Wired For Sound” is one of the most unexpected albums I’ve listened to this year, and there is a vast future for their complex brand of music under such a simple, sellable name.

SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

Merchandise Albums in my collection:  A Corpse Wired For Sound (2016), Totale Nite (2013), Children of Desire (2012)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on October 2nd, 2016.  The all parts, everything from punk to noise rock, art-pop and sonic fuzed indie rock band from Florida certainly had an eclectic palate of sounds.  I still go back to these records at least one each year, trying to determine the place it all has in the music multiverse.  I’m still pondering the dynamics of the band and their ability to transcend a true signature sound, keeping their audience tuned in as well and surviving such a very poor decision for a band name.  I would have even considered putting something in front of ‘Merchandise’ like — oh, no, I’m not going there — yes, I am!  How about  ‘Sonic Merchandise,’ ‘Broken Merchandise,’ or my favorite, ‘Unknown Merchandise!’  In actuality, when you think of the band ‘Live’ you might be struck in similarity of names (as Live is actually amazing live on stage), so perhaps, and I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase other than albums, but maybe they have the best — merchandise?  On another interesting note, if you try to type their 2004 album ‘Lo-tech Solutions to Hi-tech Problems,’ you will not be able to find it on Google as even that title is, well, low tech naming.  Wait!!!   Want to know what’s even stranger — that’s not them!  Which means, someone else chose the same name earlier in Bolton, UK with a completely different sound!  You should give that a listen, too (just for kicks), as you can see what kind of rabbit hole you can go down if you’re me! 

The real worth here on this ‘Merchandise’ band is their ability to hang and drag their sonic attitude throughout while beguiling the rest, which makes the a very interesting listen. – Mark Kuligowski  [November 26, 2023]

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