Merchandise Sprawls Out In The Sunlight Two members of the indescribable Tampa band perform "Become What You Are" in this Field Recording, captured during SXSW at an intimate backyard venue in east Austin.

Field Recordings

Merchandise Sprawls Out In The Sunlight

Merchandise got its start on the Tampa punk and hardcore scene, then got weirder as artier influences like krautrock took hold. As its sound became harder to pin down, the band inspired an 18-month bidding war between record labels: This year, Merchandise finally signed with 4AD, and adventurous new material has begun to trickle out.

A new album arrives later this year, but Merchandise was already previewing it at SXSW last month. As part of their appearance at the festival, singer Carson Cox and guitarist Dave Vassalotti — a configuration Cox describes as "some component of Merchandise" — held court for an informal session at Friends & Neighbors, a backyard venue in east Austin.

Though it usually keeps its songs to reasonable lengths, Merchandise also knows how to sprawl out: Its new single, "Begging for Your Life/In the City Light," spans a whopping 14 minutes. So it's no surprise that even a truncated version of the group would be capable of wringing an epic out of such a casual environment. Here, Cox and Vassalotti perform "Become What You Are" before an intimate and easy-going crowd, letting the song unfurl for nearly nine minutes.

Set List

"Become What You Are"

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Saidah Blount; Director: A.J. Wilhelm; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Saidah Blount, Becky Harlan, Olivia Merrion, A.J. Wilhelm; Production Coordinator: Kate Kittredge; Special Thanks: Friends & Neighbors; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

half•alive plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 21, 2019 (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

half•alive

How does half•alive, known for funky earworms and synchronized dancing, translate to such a cozy space? Have the dancers sit.

Among Authors plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 20, 2019 (Olivia Falcigno/NPR). Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Among Authors

Among Authors' music isn't casual; there are songs within these songs, and they're not always catchy. They'll take you on a journey worth following.

David Crosby and The Lighthouse Band performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 29, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

David Crosby & The Lighthouse Band

David Crosby, Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Michael League are The Lighthouse Band, and together they harmonized the heck out of the Tiny Desk.

Calexico and Iron & Wine play a Tiny Desk Concert on June 19, 2019 (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Calexico And Iron & Wine

The two bands just released Years to Burn, their first album together since 2005. Now, they've performed three songs — two new, one old — for Calexico's Tiny Desk debut.

Tamino plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 5, 2019 (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Tamino

Tamino possesses one of the most remarkable and memorable voices to ever grace the Tiny Desk.

Priests performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 7, 2019. Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Priests

The punk-infused art band from Washington, D.C. brings a kinder, gentler and sparer version of the group's music to the Tiny Desk.

Sting and Shaggy perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 19, 2018. Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Sting And Shaggy

The two musical legends brought plenty of joy to the Tiny Desk, with an unexpected collaboration that works surprisingly well.

Miya Folick plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 21, 2019. Jenna Sterner/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jenna Sterner/NPR

Miya Folick

Miya Folick was raised a Buddhist in Santa Ana, Calif., and is of Ukrainian and Japanese descent. She sings of conviction, not fiction.

Gemma Doherty (left) and Morgan MacIntyre performing as Saint Sister during their Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington, D.C. Michael Zamora/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Michael Zamora/NPR

Saint Sister

The group from Ireland makes music that mixes the organic with the electronic, starting with a large, 34-string lever harp.

Imogen Heap plays a Tiny Desk Conert on May 4, 2019 (Colin Marshall/NPR). Colin Marshall/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Colin Marshall/NPR

Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap takes us through her many musical talents, from her Frou Frou musical partner, Guy Sigsworth — and their first new song in 17 years — to an extraordinary performance with musical gloves.

Back To Top