Merchandise Ride the Newest of Waves on “Children of Desire”

Tampa, Florida’s Merchandise don’t reinvent the wheel on this year’s Children of Desire. The wheel they’ve got is damn fine, though. Combining the synthetic beats of New Wave and krautrock with soaring guitars and vocals, they create something that feels both modern and familiar. Their songs make you feel nostalgic for memories you’ve never had. All this from a group of hardcore kids in the sunshine state.

The record opens with the brief “Thin Air”, a synth-filled ballad which creeps along, fading into the upbeat, song of the year-worthy “Time” (which you can listen to below). The lyrics cover classic themes of loneliness and getting older. “Time, you’ve bested me again/I keep trying but I can’t win/Tell me father where you’ve been/I’m alone but used to it,” vocalist Carson Cox croons over an infectious drum machine beat, while a mountaintop guitar riff swoops around the beat (in this metaphor, the guitar riff is a bird). Despite its repetitive structure, the song never wears out its welcome. In fact, its all-too-brief five minutes leaves you wanting more, and that more is brought by the following 11-minute opus “Become What You Are”. The first half of the song chugs along in a similar manner to “Time” – all big guitars and sparkling synths – but cuts out halfway through into a solitary guitar riff, which is followed by a fast-paced jam, complete with whooping synth noises and some big Kraftwerk vibes. It seems at this point, much like Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock before them, Merchandise can’t slow down, ramping up the speed yet again on the fourth track, aptly-titled “In Nightmare Room”. The melodies are darker and the beat more industrial, oozing reverb and skittering hi-hat. This frantic moment comes to a sudden close with the following track, a piano ballad titled, “Satellite”. Cox plays a sparse set of chords, joined slowly by (most likely synthetic) strings and horns, as well as echoing backing vocals. The record culminates in the eleven-minute slow jam “Roser Park”. A midtempo journey through mind of a man wearing a technicolor windbreaker, it sounds a bit like a Prince record slowed to a third of the speed and recorded underwater. It closes off the record in fitting fashion, a triumphant excursion into the 1980s of the future. It’s an incredible record from a band that keeps getting better.

You can get the album from Katorga Works (They have it up as a FREE DOWNLOAD, so no excuses) and you can listen to standout track “Time” below:

Review: Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II

In recent years the San Francisco Bay Area has produced some of the finest garage rock acts around. With such acts as Ty Segall, The Fresh and Onlys, Shannon and the Clams, and Wax Idols calling the area home, the Bay Area has no shortage of acts to choose from. Leading the charge is San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees, whose new album Putrifiers II is one of the best of the year.

Since their first release in 2004 Thee Oh Sees have been one of the most prolific bands in rock having put out fourteen full lengths, eight EPs, and ten singles in addition to being one of today’s hottest live bands. Fronted by singer/guitarist John Dwyer, Thee Oh Sees unique brand of frantic, grooving, psychedelic garage rock has reached new levels on Putrifiers II. Fans of older albums such as The Master’s Bedroom is Worth Spending a Night In, Help, and Carrion Crawler/The Dream will dig this record’s faster tracks such as the opener “Wax Face” and “Flood’s New Light.” Dwyer an company (including Santa Cruz loke Brigid Dawson) decided to try some new things out on this release with slower, trippier tunes such as “So Nice.” Other standout songs are the title track as well as the bouncing, cheery “Will We Be Scared.”  Really the whole album is killer so you should just check them all out.

Chancellor Blumenthal Addresses the State of the Campus in his State of the Campus Address

On September 24, 2012 Chancellor George Blumenthal gave his State of the Campus Address to discuss UCSC’s global impact over the past year, and the difficulties that lie ahead.

Photo by Carolyn Lagatutta

Loud Rock Charts: 9/25

TesseracT, known for being very finicky with their vocalists, have finally found their newest singer, Ashe O’Hara, who will hopefully be a more permanent addition than their last two. You can hear a snippet their newest song “Nocturne”, which showcases some of O’Hara’s talent. Here’s to a hopefully long and bright future for Ashe O’Hara and the rest of TesseracT!

2 AMITY AFFLICTION Chasing Ghosts Roadrunner
3 BAD POWERS Bad Powers The End
4 RE-MACHINED Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head Eagle Rock
5 ENGEL Blood Of Saints FrostByte

1 KATATONIA Dead End Kings Peaceville
2 VISION OF DISORDER The Cursed Remain Cursed Candlelight
3 AS I LAY DYING Awakened Metal Blade
4 THY WILL BE DONE Temple [EP] Self-Released
5 CHARIOT One Wing eOne
6 FACELESS Autotheism Sumerian
7 JUDAS PRIEST Screaming For Vengeance Legacy
8 ENCRUST From Birth To Soil Density
9 LAST VEGAS Bad Decisions FrostByte
10 I AM WAR Outlive You All Razor and Tie



Universal Grapevine 09/25/12

Bruce has guest Scott Griffin on the show discussing the Nickelodeon Theater in Santa Cruz. Also on the show is Jim Emdy about opera season in Northern California.

UCSC Student Open House @ KZSC

KZSC has space for new UCSC student volunteers. No experience is needed (we provide the training), so if you’re a UCSC Student with a passion for music, sports, talk radio and/or pizza, then a KZSC’s Student Open House Event is the place for you. Find out how you can host your own radio show and eat pizza while it lasts. We’ll have student DJ’s and staff on hand to give tours and answer all your questions. Academic credit is available as part of your training.  The UCSC Student Open House Events at KZSC take place at 7 pm on October 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Follow the signs near Crown College. For more information, email KZSC’s student Volunteer Coordinator at: If you are a Slug Freshman, you have a special invitation to join The Great 88!