Merchandise @ Sonos Studio, Los Angeles 1/24/13

From a New Yorker-in-January’s point of view, the Sonos Studio’s single biggest attribute is that it is in La Brea, which is a place where it is not 2º at the moment. GOOD JOB, SPIN MUSIC GROUP & SONOS #UNMUTED SERIES. There are other impressive features, too, though, like the fact that it is a clean gallery with minimal accouterments, striking a nice balance between being malleable and retaining an elevated “performance art space” air. All of which is to say, we had a good setting to build a nice party last night. We brought in ascendant, Stereogum40 Tampa post-punk crew Merchandise to headline, thinking LA would like an intimate preview of their newly drummer-enhanced live show before it goes on tour this spring. (They’ve recently added a permanent drummer in Elsner Nino of Shoxx to the mix; their previous three shows with Nino were all in NYC last month.) Merchandise were soundchecking when we arrived, after which they quickly told us they’d never played a space quite so nice before. Coming from a band with deep roots in Florida’s DIY hardcore and punk scenes, featuring former members of Cult Ritual and Nazi Dust, we took them at their word. It was also Merchandise’s first time performing with the Brothers Quay’s transfixing feature length black-and-white film Institute Benjementa projecting on and behind their bodies, which wound up being a perfect pairing I feel particularly proud of. (This scene is the best.) Merchandise’s set had an impressively tight grip on the free-show/free-Svedka crowd. This of course does not include the five minutes or so after Coachella’s lineup was announced last night, when literally every person’s phones lit up, heads cocked down. The band spanned the gamut, killing “Time” for the neophytes and playing the unreleased “Winter’s Dream” for the more hardcore. (Also in the set: “Worthless Apology,” “Schoolyard,” “Become What You Are,” and the new “Anxiety’s Door.”) For the record: “Time” is their big track, and “Winter’s Dream” will close the Totale Nite EP they’ll release this spring. All the cracks before and after the band’s set were filled with consummate DJing from Peaking Lights’ Aaron Coyes, who brought many boxes of vinyl and live-mixed a set of sounds and beats from Africa, Europe, and the Americas, very much in line with what you’d expect from one of the minds behind the last two years’ excellent releases 936 and Lucifer In Dub. I also learned Aaron has a new show on Dublab. Tuning in is advised.

Pass through the many photos by Andrew Youssef above. It’s worth mentioning that Stereogum sign was handmade by our own Kate O’Malley. If you want to see your name in lights, get at her. Below check out a listing of the stops on Merchandise’s upcoming spring tour.

03/07 – Savannah, GA @ The Savannah Stopover
03/08 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl *
03/09 – Oxford, MS @ Lamar Lounge
03/10 – Denton, TX @ 35 Denton Festival
03/11 – McAllen, TX @ Cine El Rey Theatre (GALAX Z FAIR II) !
03/12 – San Antonio, TX @ Korova
03/13-16 – Austin, TX (SXSW)
03/18 – El Paso, TX @ Black Market
03/19 – Phoenix, AZ @ Dead Horse Warehouse #
03/20 – San Diego, CA @ The Soda Bar #
03/21 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo #
03/22 – Santa Ana, CA @ Observatory (Burgerama Festival) #$
03/23 – Bakersfield, CA @ Munoz Gym #
03/24 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The 418 Project #
03/25 – San Francisco, CA @ The Rickshaw Shop #^
03/26 – Oakland, CA @ The New Parish #^
03/28 – Portland, OR @ Backspace #
03/29 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Media Club #
03/30 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza #
03/31 – Olympia, WA @ The Northern #
04/02 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux #
04/03 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby #
04/04 – Denver, CO @ The Marquis Theater #^
04/06 – Norman, OK @ Opolis %
04/07 – Houston, TX @ Mango’s
04/08 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
04/09 – Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic @
06/01 – Austin, TX (Chaos In Tejas)
06/02 – Austin, TX (Chaos In Tejas)

* with Chelsea Light Moving, Talk Normal
! with Mac DeMarco, Audacity
# with Wet Hair
$ with Black Lips, Nick Waterhouse, Bleached
^ with Iceage
% with Mr. Lies
@ with White Lung