The Merch Table: PLZ Make It Ruins Creates Cool Merch for Hungry Dogs

Merchtable-plzmakeitruins-1244.jpgPLZ Make It Ruins is a London-based dance and electronic label that makes it a point to create limited edition merch for their discography, often drawing inspiration from the title of the record or the artist’s persona and attempting to translate it to a physical format. The approach has resulted in some truly idiosyncratic offerings. On the label’s Bandcamp merch page you can find self-help posters and USB drives shaped like pastilles (“Designed to deal with even the most rigid of chakras”), 40-oz beers with custom labels (limited to 10, very sold out), and a “fortune cookie” box containing a single download code and “a proverb for the listener’s rumination.”

Recently, however, PLZ Make It Ruins created a charming piece of merch aimed at a market that’s been historically underserved by the music industry, but one that’s beloved by both the internet and humanity in general: dogs.

Merchtable-plzmakeitruins-1244-2Created to accompany the release of Pennsylvania artist ARTHUR’s experimental and trippy album Woof Woof, the Woof Woof ceramic dog bowl features a cute, minimalist doggie design courtesy of graphic designer and illustrator Bráulio Amado.

Though it’s unclear whether or not dogs actually enjoy listening to music, it is safe to say that all dogs love to eat. Thus the Woof Woof dog bowl is an inspired way to both support independent music and make your pup happy at the same time—a hypothesis we very scientifically tested by letting a group of London doggos take the bowl for a test run, the photographic results of which you can see here.

Merchtable-plzmakeitruins-1244-4The idea to offer a dog bowl was the result of a brainstorming session between PLZ Make it Ruins label owner Joe Thornalley (who records as Vegyn, and also boasts production credits on Frank Ocean’s Blonde), ARTHUR, and Amado. “We were trying to think of the funniest thing to go alongside the project,” says Thornalley. “ARTHUR’s album title ultimately helped guide us toward the dog bowl. We laughed a lot coming up with ideas for this project.”

Merchtable-plzmakeitruins-1244-3Though not as bookish as some of the label’s previous merch items, the Woof Woof dog bowl fits squarely into Thornalley’s larger philosophy about merch: “Music is so diverse and wide-ranging, I feel like the products reflecting a project should help continue the narrative of the album. I see it as an opportunity to create something fun that hopefully also catches people’s imagination.”

The uniqueness of PLZ Make It Ruins’s merch items, as well as their extremely limited availability, does mean that they often sell out, which Thornalley feels only slightly bad about: “Ultimately, I have no intention of arbitrarily limiting the quantities of the products. However usually the more specialized an item is, the more time consuming its design and manufacture can become. I would much rather everyone get a copy of something if they want it, but at the same time: you snooze, you lose!”

When asked if his own pooch had any feedback about the Woof Woof dog bowl, Thornalley responded: “My parents have a very funny German Shepherd and she certainly enjoys food being poured into the bowl. However, I’ll have to ask her for her thoughts on the aesthetics next time I see her.”

Mariana Timony

 

Album of the Day: Reese McHenry, “No Dados”

The story of Reese McHenry’s struggles—of her stroke in 2008, followed by more strokes, followed by the loss of her job, followed by the loss of her home—is devastating. The powerhouse vocalist could barely speak, let alone sing. Performing was untenable. What followed was a half-dozen operations, the installing of a pacemaker, years devoted to addressing the atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Maybe it’s overly sentimental to put too much on the rebuilding of a heart, but McHenry makes garage rock and soul for thick-skinned romantics: it just comes with the territory.

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The Lasting Legacy of the Art Ensemble of Chicago

In May of 1969, a Chicago-based quartet of radically experimental musicians made two decisions that resonate to this day. 

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Aries Creates a “Super Pop” Paradise on “Juramento Mantarraya”

Aries

Photos by Alba Yruela

Isa Reviriego named her solo project Aries after her astrological sun sign, the main traits of which are generally described as being “creative,” “fiery,” “independent,” and “stylish.” Those adjectives are also fitting descriptions for her latest work, Juramento Mantarraya. The record is a colorful blend of bubbling synths, percussive gurgles, vibrant orchestral arrangements, and Reviriego’s bright vocals.

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Yung Bae: Meet the Introvert Producer Taking Future Funk Mainstream

yung bae

Since releasing his first mixtape, simply titled Bae, in 2014, Yung Bae (aka Dallas Cotton) has become a recognizable name among fans of the extroverted cousin of vaporwave known as future funk. To press play on any one of the 24-year-old producer and DJ’s releases is to be transported to a parallel universe, one that’s full of beautiful impossibilities. His album art says it all: anime figures sport perfectly arranged, brightly colored hair; they lounge poolside or dance in nightclubs. No one wakes up early to go to work, because they don’t need to—in this world, life is a beach. Continue reading

The Return of the “Boom-Bap” Sound in Philadelphia

Buddy Leezle

Buddy Leezle by Caitlyn Kennedy

New York is commonly considered to be the birthplace of hip-hop music and culture. What’s not often discussed is the role nearby cities also played in the genre development: Englewood, New Jersey was the home of both Sugar Hill Records and the Sugar Hill Gang; Lady B, from Philadelphia, was one of the first female rappers to release a single (her “To the Beat Y’All” appeared in 1979). Gangsta rap also has roots in Philadelphia: Schoolly D’s “P.S.K. What Does It Mean?,” released in 1985, is often credited with birthing the genre.

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Album of the Day: Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano, “FRKWYS Vol. 15: serenitatem”

If anyone (besides the artists themselves) deserves credit for the sudden obsession with Japanese ambient music, it’s Spencer Doran. The Visible Cloaks co-founder spent nearly a decade sharing his favorite songs with the world, beginning with the foundational mix Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo and its no-less-enlightening sequel. Doran’s love of artists like Midori Takada and Hiroshi Yoshimura runs so deep, in fact, that Light in the Attic tapped him to curate last year’s Kankyō Ongaku compilation of corporate-sponsored “environmental music” (muzak, essentially) from the ’80s.

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Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky’s Haunting Joint LP Isn’t As Unlikely As It Seems

Marissa Nadler Steve Brodsky

Photos by Ebru Yildiz

On paper, a collaboration between dream-folk singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler and metal shredder Stephen Brodsky—known for his dizzying work with Cave In and Mutoid Man—might seem a little strange. Beyond the fact that both of them are from Massachusetts, they appear to have little in common. It’s only when you realize that Brodsky has a vastly underappreciated solo discography, which includes soft acoustic material, and that Nadler has previously worked with reclusive former black metal musician Xasthur, that the duo’s Droneflower album begins to make sense. Continue reading