It has, in a lot of ways, not been the best year. But while politics, the state of the planet and what feels like everything else is crumbling around us, we did the best to make it a little bit brighter through some damn good merch.
Here’s just a few of the things we got to do this year:
As Insecure Men unleashed themselves on the world with their self-titled debut album, a UK tour and a 10-track covers record it’s been a full-on year, and nothing short of exciting.
Naturally, they needed some exciting merch to go with it, so as well as some tees, we made the one thing you didn’t know was missing from your life: an Insecure Men football scarf that had us wishing away the heatwave just so we could wear them.
Confidence Man took the world by storm in 2018, bringing a healthy dose of unashamed, unbreakable fun to what’s otherwise been a pretty bleak year. They released their debut album Confident Songs for Confident People, and toured all over the world, including a sold-out show at London’s Village Underground.
We, of course, jumped on the Confidence wagon, making them some fittingly fun, limited edition tees.
Between launching his own record label (the aptly named Mac’s Record Label), releasing tracks with his new band Met Gala and heading out on his first solo tour it’s been, as ever, a busy year for Mac DeMarco.
Rounding off a European tour which took him from Russia to Manchester via Latvia, Germany and more, Mac DeMarco got spooky with This Old Bat – a Halloween party at Southampton’s O2 Guildhall. To mark the occasion, we provided some scarily good (sorry) limited edition riso prints and t-shirts that went down a treat and made for a great costume for Mac.
2018’s been a big year for Headie One, seeing him release a stellar 16-track album The One Two, and win Breakthrough of the Year at the Rated Awards 2018.
We got to be part of the action, bringing his lyric “They don’t even care my head’s shaped like a 50p” to life with a 50p coin donning his head (a welcome alternative to the Brexit celebration 50p) and making some limited-edition tees for his I One Two Tour, which included a huge sold-out date at Electric Brixton.
Among tour after tour with the likes of Forth Wanderers, Diet Cig and Los Campesinos!, as well as her own dates, Illuminati Hotties (AKA Sarah Tudzin) squeezed in the release of her hugely exciting debut album, and gave us some invaluable advice: Kiss Yr Frenemies.
So we took it, and put it on a cap, which along with some super cute pocket tees, had Illuminati Hotties perfectly equipped for the LA Sunshine.
Boy Azooga have been working hard this year, and have themselves firmly established as ones to watch. Their 2018 can be pretty much summed up by their debut album 1, 2, Kung Fu! finding itself, deservedly, on Rough Trade’s Albums of the Year list.
Along with UK and US tours, including a sold-out headline show at Scala, it’s safe to say they’ve been killing, and we made sure they were prepared with a host of effortless cool tees and totes.
One of our favourite labels 4AD have been pretty unstoppable this year with incredible releases coming out of their ears, including records from Lemon Twigs, Daughter, Tune-Yards and The Breeders to name but a few.
Naturally, such a good year requires some strong merch to flog at record fairs and the likes of Soho Radio’s Label Lodge, so we delivered, teaming up with 4AD to give them some cool as f*ck totes, enamel pins and jumpers.
With a host of hugely exciting releases, as usual, from the likes of Goat Girl, The Decemberists, Honey Hahs and Sleaford Mods, Rough Trade have been providing us with reams of good music.
So, with a refreshed logo designed by Parquet Courts’ A. Savage, we provided them with some super colourful totes, as expertly modelled by Jarvis Cocker.
Releasing their debut EP, non-stop touring and proving themselves as one of the most exciting names in music has basically been Sports Team’s agenda this year, but they still had time for some tongue-in-cheek enjoyment of the World Cup.
We teamed up with them to make a three lions tee that’s better than any official one (and definitely a good luck charm that’s the only reason England made it as far as they did).
whenyoung have been busy bees this year, spending 2018 supporting the likes of Blossoms and The Vaccines, doing their own headline shows and releasing their debut EP Given Up, with 2019 shaping up to be just as mad.
We got involved, kitting them, and their fans, out with a range of simple, but aptly painfully cool tees.
AF Gang (IDLES fan club)
This year’s been a whirlwind for IDLES – their presence virtually inescapable, and rightly so, as they released their second album Joy as an Act of Resistance in August to critical acclaim and seemed to be endlessly touring. And they’ve done it all with a solid, loving community around.
To help the AF Gang (IDLES’ fan club) be permanently repping IDLES, we made some badass pin badges so they can spread the word everywhere.
Having first burst onto the scene in the mid-90s, this year saw electronic legends Groove Armada celebrate 21 years of with their Twenty One Live tour.
We were honoured to be involved, making t-shirts, totes and sweatshirts for when they descended on Bristol, Glasgow, London and Manchester.
As they released records from some of our favourites this year – Boy Azooga, CHAI and Confidence Man to name a few – we were super stoked to be on board to make tees and jumpers for Heavenly.
We also made a very limited edition pair of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard x Heavenly pin badges, which might possibly be the cutest pins ever. And we’re definitely not biased.
The Great Escape
With The Great Escape recently celebrating the announcement of their FIRST FIFTY for 2019 with a series of gigs over three days in East London, we can’t help but wonder where this year’s gone.
Earlier this year, we made The Great Escape a super special Riso Print to help them celebrate a lineup that hosted some of our favourite names in new music, such as Boy Azooga, Goat Girl, Phoebe Bridgers and loads more. We’ve no doubt 2019 will be just as special.
Dropping his debut album Bad Contestant, contributing to the emerging world of schmaltzcore, Matt Maltese has certainly made his mark on the world this year.
As he popped up on various lists, playlists and festival bills, we made him some cool as f*ck tees, with artwork by Alice Bloomfield.
Having just been announced for Primavera 2019, following 12 months that’s seen them release tonnes of good music, support Superorganism and ultimately make anyone who comes across them fall in love with them, it’s been a good year for CHAI.
We teamed up with them to supply one of the coolest bands in the world with some of the cutest merch – a collection of wonderfully colourful tees and totes.
Pip Blom have, in 2018, released an EP, played a string of sold out shows on their first headline tour, won an award at the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards and polished it all off by signing to Heavenly.
We made sure their merch was up to scratch with their brilliance, with tees to accompany them, whether it was smashing it at their own shows, or dominating stages supporting The Breeders.
Releasing their latest record Floating Features and galavanting round the US and Europe meant La Luz needed some damn good merch to go with them – so, of course, that’s just what we gave them.
Imperfectly lovely Riso Prints and a host of sickeningly cool tees (including one with a dog on) acted as the perfect accompaniment as they treated Europe to their unique brand of surf-noir.
Let’s Eat Grandma
Sharing their second album I’m All Ears, this year saw Let’s Eat Grandma win Best Album at the Q Awards, Best Sophomore Album at the AIM Awards, and basically receive endless acclaim – and rightly so.
As they ventured around Japan, the US and everywhere and everywhere in between, we supplied art prints and tees.
Tersha stormed a panel of old-school music industry men (who were shocked to hear tea towels aren’t the best merch) at BBC Introducing Live at Tobacco Dock, to give everyone some insight and tips into the future (and importance) of merch, spoke to the BBC for 6 Music’s band t-shirt day, and was invited on to 4Music to impart more wisdom on the world. Watch that here (from 55 minutes in).
If that’s not enough, at the start of the year we did an interview with MusicAlly, which you can read here.
Here’s to an even better 2019!