MERCHANDISE


BIO: Merchandise may now be known for their bright, summery pop tunes, but the band came to life as a very different entity. The first stirrings of what was to become Merchandise began when Brad B Wood and Conrad Astley met as students and, inspired by a shared love of leftfield electronica, trashy punk and quirky pop music, began tinkering with drum machines and vintage keyboards. These early experiments yielded a 10inch single of dark, brooding electro before the pair had even decided on a name. Later siding with the conventional idea that bands need to have names, they chose a song title by DC hardcore legends Fugazi, and released the debut album This Is… Merchandise. This time, they also decided to look into the equally traditional concept that songs should have tunes and lyrics – the latter duty Brad shared with Roger Williams, who would become a long-time collaborator. This move away from wilful experimentation and towards songwriting categorised the follow-up single Swallowing Curses and their gentler second album Lo-Tech Solutions To Hi-Tech Problems. The samplers, analogue synths and sequencers may still have been present, but they were accompanied by pianos, acoustic guitars and an old fashioned love of a good tune. The pair, who up until now had been purely studio based, began taking the show on the road, just as their songs became poppier and more upbeat, and recruited drummer Rob Turner to complete their live sound. What started out as an experimental recording project evolved into something very different, as live audiences fell for the simplicity and charm of their songs and the three-piece line-up – as far away as it’s possible to get from the try-hard world of unnecessary guitar solos inhabited by many bands. Merchandise’s third album, For the Masses is now complete after five years and many collective members’ input. Two of the singles have already been released and have recieved radio play including Radio 1’s Hew Stephens and the vid to the third, Lies Like These has already gained a great online following on Vimeo. Now, with a new live band, made up of percussionist Rick Goodwin and mandolin and guitar player John Baulcombe (formerly of late eighties indie darlings Bradford), and a third album – Merchandise For The Masses – about to be released, the band’s story is set to enter yet another chapter.

Latest Articles


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