With festivals, tours, and concerts canceled, and no end in site, bands are feeling financially strapped. For a musician, touring is their largest source of income, and in some cases, that includes the salaries of guitar techs, tour managers, sound engineers, and more. So, what can we do to support our favorite bands during this tumultous time? Aside from generous virtual tips during an artist's live streaming concert, you can also treat yourself to some of their merchandise. I don't know about you, but retail therapy is just what my anxious brain needs right now, plus, you're helping some of your favorite bands make ends meet 'til they can get back on the road. Win-win.
KEXP is rounding up some of our favorite items from bands who've been impacted by the coronavirus, to help inspire you to do your own online shopping. So, walk on over to the virtual merch table, add to cart, and show your support 'til they can get back on stage.
(Also, just for reassurance, the Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance maintain there is no evidence the coronavirus is spreading through the mail.)
The nice folks at Polyvinyl Records have compiled this 16-track collection in support of the bands on their roster who've been impacted by the coronavirus. As they describe: "Stay Home includes brand new covers by Owen (The 1975), Palehound (Karen Dalton), Squirrel Flower (Emmylou Harris), Hazel English (The Mamas & The Papas), and Xiu Xiu (Kim Jung Mi). The compilation also features previously unreleased singles from Chris Farren and Radiation City, along with intimate album demos from Yumi Zouma, of Montreal, STRFKR, and The Get Up Kids."
The compilation is available exclusively via Bandcamp for Pay What You Want (starting at $5 USD). You can even purchase a limited edition Stay Home t-shirt (designed by Polyvinyl Art Director Janelle Abad), which comes with a digital copy of the release. In both cases, 100% of the proceeds are being donated to the artists. (In fact, wait 'til this Friday to make your purchase, and even more money will go directly to the artists!)
Back in 1999, American Football were at the vanguard of the emo scene with their self-titled debut (released on Polyvinyl Record Co., incidentally!), which featured the track "Stay Home." Over 20 years later, and that statement has become a worldwide mantra in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Well, what better to keep you cozy while indoors than these red, white, and blue (patriotic!) "Stay Home" knit crew socks? Made of a polyester/cotton blend, these are "one size fits most." Take a stand (heh) in these "Stay Home" socks.
(And actually, the band recently re-recorded the track while doing just that: staying home. They write: "A lot of people (us included) have a natural tendency to stay home. And now, strangely, that’s the responsible way to be. We hope at the very least that our homemade and tech-lite video will serve as a distraction from anxiety-inducing news coverage and stress about the future. And at best, maybe it will remind you that your antisocial tendencies are justified. You’ve been making the right decision all along: stay home.
Together in isolation,
Or maybe you'd prefer The National to keep your toes toasty? Of all the songs in their 20-year discography, I'm not sure why they chose the track "Rylan" off last year's LP I Am Easy to Find. (Watch them perform the song in the KEXP studios here.) Why not "Slipped" or "Runaway" or "Walk it Back"? Did The National ever sell pairs of boxers for their album Boxer? (Hey, you guys need some merch consulting? Hit me up.) The socks are available in three color combinations: black/white, orange/green, and a "High Violet" purple/green. (Seriously, guys. Call me.) Made of 75% Cotton / 23% Stretch Nylon / 2% Elastic with sizing equivalent to a Men's (6-12) / Women's (7-13).
Maybe none of those socks speak to you. And those Japanese Breakfast socks are just way too twee. Don't worry, we got you with these cotton socks from 20-something-year-old artist Åsa Söderqvist, aka ShitKid. After all, what goes better with self-isolation than the bedroom pop music of a Stockholm, Sweden-based wunderkind? Plus, these socks include unlimited streaming of her 2018 EP This Is It via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC, and more. Limited to 300 pairs of socks, with only... 3 LEFT as of this writing! Don't miss out!
And, finally, we've got this eerie bumper sticker from New York freak-folk label Woodsist Records, home to bands like, well, Woods. But what's great about this sticker is that it doesn't even say "Woodsist" anywhere on it. It just has that creepy skull logo, which, anyone in the know will recognize as they drive past you, pumping their fist out the rolled-down window, bellowing "YEAH, KEVIN MORBY!" But that jerk in the Ford F150 who's been tail-gaiting you all the way down Aurora? Maybe he'll be deterred by that henna'ed hand reaching out from that skull. "We Are Everywhere." Who's "we"? We'll never tell.
KEXP presents a series rounding up some of the most interesting band merch we can find, helping you support your favorite bands during this time of staying home.