Merchandise is the result of years and years of hallucinatory heat and musical quarantine in the skinhead mecca of Tampa, FL. A trio-gone-duo-gone-trio again, the band has been active since 2008, releasing numerous cassettes and CD-R’s, along with two full-length LP’s on Katorga Works. It’s members (RCC, PDB, DMV) all have strong roots in the underground punk community, having released records and toured with much too many acts to be mentioned in this fragment of a bio.
2012’s “Children of Desire” marks a turning point for the band. Their initial post-punk palette has begun to actively incorporate various influences from krautrock soundscapes to country ballads, from 1950’s crooners to Madchester dopers. Sounds and ambitions have grown and multiplied. The platform continues to grow and the future remains uncertain, but Merchandise show no signs of slowing down. Expect more tours and records and movies and books and etc.
Lower make intense music. Seek Warmer Climes, the Copenhagen quartet’s debut album, sparkles with the harmonic dissonance and high-strung urgency of their underground music forebears. But Lower Adrian Toubro (vocals), Simon Formann (guitar), Kristian Emdal (bass) and Anton Rothstein (drums) – also channel the romance and drama of great singer-songwriters, from late-period Scott Walker to Bryan Ferry. The result is a hugely ambitious and affecting rock album that enters deeply personal and unusual sonic and topical spaces.
Certainly, you don’t have to dig deep to hear how far Lower’s music sits from the traditional concerns of modern rock music. Toubro’s lyrics are finely wrought emotional dramas that, in their poetic construction and raw honesty of delivery, gesture to the music of Walker or Leonard Cohen. As inspirations he cites Cornelis Vreeswijk, the half Dutch, half Swedish troubadour whose coarse language and fascination with low society shocked the conservative listeners of the day, and filmmaker John Cassavetes, who made his movies about “real people with real issues”.