In the ancient period of two months ago, there was a tacit social contract between artists/businesses and fans/customers wherein the latter bought branded merchandise from the former to help keep them afloat.
This ran like clockwork — artists bought Gildan T-shirts in bulk, printed some cool design on them and flipped them for a 150% margin. When they really wanted to be creative, they would help consumers keep their closets empty and sell something like coffee mugs or socks. In doing all this, patrons were able to support the artistic community while also having some morsel of self-validation in looking fresh.
But quarantine has since disrupted this arrangement. Consumers have less money to spend on merch, which is, in turn, only being advertised to family, roommates and pets.
Suffice to say, the coronavirus has taken the wind out of merch sales, and there has never been a more dire need for them. Whether you’re looking to get a new T-shirt, an LP or even some shorts, below is a list of some cool merch to support the North Texas music scene.
This Three Links T-shirt with someone’s negative Facebook review.
Support your local venues, especially the ones that, as a Facebook reviewer named Zach once put it, book shitty punk bands and make you wait in line for the bathroom.
This Asian Doll T-shirt.
Technically, her stage name is currently Asian Da Brat, but so many people refer to her by her old stage name “Asian Doll” that both are used interchangeably. Case in point, this “Young Rich Doll” white tee is still a featured product on her official merch page.
This sold-out LP of Lift to Experience’s The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads.
Vinyl pressings of Lift to Experience’s 2001 magnum opus The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads are difficult to come by, which only makes copies of this album more coveted and expensive. But hey, that’s what happens when your band gets a cult following.
This Good Records T-shirt.
Good Records is a Texas institution, and there’s no better way to express pride of this fact than by wearing a T-shirt of a Good Records logo printed over a Texas flag.
These Liv.e shawty shawts.
Los Angeles-via-Dallas rapper Liv.e (pronounced “lihv”) has been on the rise after touring with Earl Sweatshirt and receiving cosigns from the likes of Erykah Badu and Tyler, the Creator. She’s not going to ascend to the top, however, without also putting herself at the cutting edge of the merch game. In a merch industry too focused on torsos, the Dolfin Records signee is filling the void in selling “shawty shawts” on her Bandcamp page.
This sold-out bundle of Stick Men With Ray Guns LPs.
Stick Men With Ray Guns was one of Dallas’ earliest punk bands. A regular at the legendary Hot Klub, they shared bills with then-up-and-comers such as Bad Brains, Misfits, Dead Kennedys and U.K. Subs, and had a notorious camaraderie with Butthole Surfers. Paying $27 for both pressings of Stick Men’s entire discography is a great deal, which is why the bundle is sold out. If you don’t mind shelling out an additional $4, however, you can get both Property of Jesus Christ and 1000 Lives to Die separately for an aggregated price of $31.
This Texas Theatre “11-22-63” T-shirt.
We’re perhaps best known as the city that killed JFK, but with enough people wearing this shirt, we can also be known as the city that arrested Lee Harvey Oswald as he hid in a movie theater.
This T-shirt of Erykah Badu wearing a T-shirt that says “Pimp the System.”
To “pimp the system” is to take advantage of a system that has kept you down. Coming from someone as self-empowered as Ms. Badu, that’s totally on brand.
This T-shirt of Townes Van Zandt with his dog Geraldine.
It’s hard to pin down Geraldine’s origins, but her owner, country legend Townes Van Zandt, was an even rarer breed. Music heavyweights such as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, Neil Young, Garth Brooks and the late John Prine have cited Van Zandt as an influence, but even with such ubiquity has he remained a best-kept secret of sorts. Above all else, though, he was a complete badass, and Geraldine was lucky for having such solid hangs with him.
Pinkish Black coffee mug.
“World’s Best Dad” is such a cliché thing to put on a coffee mug. Not only that, but there’s seldom any basis of truth behind it. I mean, have you ever been to a dad contest? And forget those normie mugs that say things like, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning coffee.” Your 12-year-old son takes Ritalin to treat his ADHD, Rebecca, so you’re not the one who’s become dependent on stimulants. If you truly want to stand out among your co-workers and drink your morning coffee in style, snag this Pinkish Black coffee mug.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.