Merlin Wall
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Merlin Wall

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Pop Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Merlin Wall...coming to you at Taste of Randolph St. tomorrow, surf punk slackers for your summer!"

So I like bucking the trend, not reading my email, not knowing if I’m covering a band that’s solicited my attention or not. Why not, eh? It’s Saturday, I’ve worked hard all week, had my various commuter adventures that really should be forgotten and now I’m feeling rebellious. And I bring to you this band that I tripped over on my way to the Taste of Randolph St. For you out-of-towners (which frankly is 90% of my 5 current readers) Chicago is full up of wonderful street festivals which feature not only great food and shopping goodies but also, and most importantly, awesome bands. And on the various schedules for these glorious festivals you may find links to the bands scheduled to play.

On such a page I found this link to a band named Merlin Wall. What hooked me was not the name, not the pretty album cover, but these words: ” surf-punk slackers.” Yes, darlins, I’m just that easy. Their bandcamp page is truly a treasure trove of slick, chilled-out tunes which feature a good amount of guitar grinding and vocal distortion to please the 80s punk girl in me. Merlin Wall stays true to the part of punk aesthetic that require simple bass lines and repetitive beats. But don’t be fooled, it’s all indie. Dispassionate vocals and angst-ridden lyrics betray that middle-class anomie that will always cause this generation to cry nostalgically into their PBRs. Now if we can just get them to wipe that smirk off their faces the rest of the time we might feel for them sometimes, eh?

Don’t let that stop you from enjoying Merlin Wall. There’s plenty of clashing and crashing to really say something here. I’d recommend this album to you to buy, even if they hadn’t gone and given it away for free – the fucking slackers, xoxo - Love Shack Baby

"Merlin Wall"

Merlin Wall are a spaced-out, freaky power pop band from Chicago. They all live together and are kind of out of their minds. They converted my questions into a psychadelic, stream-of-conciousness multiple-choice test, so enjoy:

Interview follows. - Jettison Quarterly

"Chicago Psychadelic Week Day 3 - Merlin Wall - Crushin' from Afar"

To keep the psychedelic week going, I'm going to switch things up with Merlin Wall. They're a surfy sounding psychedelic band from Chicago unlike anything we've seen this week, not only sonically, but also because these guys are super underdogs. They've got that shore side fuzzy sound that makes you wanna sell everything and drive in a convertible to the West Coast. Sunshine and surfboards, washed out rhythm guitars and a tight drum & bass section make this band what they are. Think Cloud Nothings meets Interpol in a strange interplanetary realm.

They've got a six song EP called Crushin' From Afar that is totally what you need to get rid of the recent blizzard, and winter all together. You can get this EP for free at their bandcamp and you can follow them and all their shows and updates through their tumblr.

You should tell them how good they're doing, how much you adore them, how happy they made you for making you think it was summer for a minute, or even book them for a show, possibly even your birthday, because they'd rock it. To do this, email them at - Chicago Examiner

"Merlin Wall - Chick Track"

Could anything be sexier than the supermodel featured in the premiere Merlin Wall video? Well, the accompanying song–"Chick Track" from the album Crushin' From Afar– sure gives it an honest go. The intangible crush never seemed like this much fun in real life. - Urban Outfitters

"The Shape of Chicago Rock to Come"

Merlin Wall is a band about a medical student fantasizing about death via the music of Hall & Oates, Prince and a whole bunch of obscure power pop bands that I've never heard of. Hopefully, Pitchfork gets wise to this freaky dreamy pop music, then some Heaven's Gate type ish goes down. - Primitive Future

"Merlin Wall - Crushin' from Afar"

Three chords. Some bands make a career out of three simple chords. Usually when you think about such a career, you think of the Ramones and with good reason. Chicago’s Merlin Wall seem poised to set sail on a similar yet sonically different path and with their debut EP, Crushin’ From Afar, they’ve proven that those three chords can still go a long way in the proper hands.

As alluded to, though, Merlin Wall are no pop punk band. Poppy, yes, and surely with a bit of dark humor, Merlin Wall, never the less, more closely resemble last year’s “It” band Soft Pack than, say, Green Day. And there’s certainly a surf vibe as well evidenced both in the amount of reverb and style of licks employed. An odd distinction considering Soft Pack are from the West coast while Merlin Wall are pretty much land locked Chicagoans. Still, both bands work around simple chord progressions to build pop songs that are more clever then one might expect.

Crushin’ starts with the comically dark, despite its peppiness, “The Wake”. Sure, your head will be bobbing along through the chorus whilst your ears deal with the lyrics. Did he just say, “Everyone you know is going to die someday/Everyone you know will die in a horrible way?” Indeed. For good measure the song does end in a fit of classic pop punk if for no other reason than to show how easily this could be Screeching Weasel. It is not.

“Float A Wade” is all tribal drums and swirling swirls, and “Pizza Party” is surf at its core yet both flow seamlessly as Merlin Wall remain quite committed to their sound. A little keyboard in “Pizza Party” just accents the fuzzy pop. “Chick Track” starts out appropriately quiet for, you know, the ladies before eventually bouncing along on a a two note bass line. It’s the love song, and I suppose the most “dynamic” tune on the EP as well as possibly being the best template for the Merlin Wall to follow in the future.

A nineteen minute EP is the perfect length to introduce themselves. These six songs are all very strong (the heretofore unmentioned two minutes and fourteen seconds of “Beach House 10shunzzz” might be my favorite even), but it’ll be interesting to see how Merlin Wall go forward with what may seem like a simple approach. Admittedly, I get weary listening to Soft Pack’s debut. Sure, I am the one making this comparison, and you might not hear it at all or, if you do, might love Soft Pack wholeheartedly. Personally, I like the more snotty and at times aggressive sound of Merlin Wall. All I’m saying is that on a longer album, one can only hope that they find a few new tricks to keep things fresh.

But, again, we’re not reviewing a fictional full length. We are talking about the very real Crushin’ From Afar, and as far as that goes, it is nineteen minutes of pop heaven. Delivered in early December, it even offers a respite from all this indoor living. Good pop music, whether it’s lush and orchestrated or straight forward and three chord based, is always a grand way to escape the winter time blues. For the better part of twenty minutes Merlin Wall remind you of the days of hoping on your bike and just going. - Loud Loop Press

"Song of the Day: Merlin Wall "The Wake""

It’s Chicago again today, this time the sound is coming from an act called MERLIN WALL that mix The Soft Pack with The Drums nicely. This track, “The Wake” cruises along and around 3/4 of the way through it rips to a big finish. You can download their “Crushin From Afar” EP for Free at their Bandcamp page, HERE. The whole thing is worth snagging because this is strong throughout, especially the Tom Petty “American Girl” sounding “Float A Wade”. - Future Sounds


Crushin' from Afar EP



We live together and make glorious messes in our basement. We want to share them with the world and give every person a reason to party and makeout. We listen to a lot of New Order to keep warm in the winter. And Katy Perry.