Burger Records was founded around 2008 by Sean Bohrman, Lee Rickard, and Brian Flores, who were all in a Fullerton, CA-based band called Thee Makeout Party. They founded the label to release cassettes for their band and their friends' bands, which remains their goal to this day. While Burger is best known for breaking garage rock acts like King Tuff and Ty Segall, they have over 450 bands on their roster, and Bohrman proudly told me that they listen to every single submission they are sent. In 2009, they launched a record store, also in Fullerton. I spoke to Bohrman about what it's like to run such a successful indie label and why people at his high school thought he was going to shoot them all.
Ad Hoc: Will you tell me how Burger Records started?
SB: We started by releasing our own music. We were in a band called Thee Makeout Party and wanted to put out a record, so we put it out ourselves—this is back in 2007—and once we saw we actually could do that, we tried to start our own label, since nobody else was interested in making tapes. We made a tape for our friends' band and it turned out really well and turned into this big thing. It supports all of us, but not just us. It supports a bunch of people musically, and I think that's what's cool about the whole thing: being able to turn people on to music on a wide scale. It's like making a mix CD for a million people rather than just one.
Lillian Maring may be best known for her role in the Bay Area trio Grass Widow, but she has been writing solo material for as long as she can remember. In 2012, Maring left the metropolis of San Francisco for the relative isolation of Port Townsend, WA to record Ruby Pins, the debut full-length from her eponymous solo project. I spoke with her about her reasons for doing so, as well as her experiences as a post-Riot Grrrl feminist, musician, and entrepreneur.
Ad Hoc: When did you first start thinking about starting a solo project?
LM: I've always written songs alone, even when no one has heard them. I do it for myself, by myself, all the time. So about a year ago I decided I would take some old material and do something with it. Some of the songs on the album were written three years ago. I have years of songs and pieces of songs sitting in my computer.
Recently, Fire Talk Records released the latest EP by the Long Island group Turnip King. The five songs take gentle, guitar-based indie rock with a slight shoegaze slant and a penchant for going off into ethereal, instrumental dream-pop asides. Moon Landing? is lo-fi in function as opposed to form, but on occasion the tape hiss takes on the roar of the Long Island Sound crashing distantly against the shore. You can stream the whole EP below.
Providence's Carlos Gonzales, the man behind the Russian Tsarlag moniker has been honing his brand of "sewage-pop" for a while now, which is clearly evident though the cassette haze of his latest single, "Plastic Door", off his upcoming LP for Not Not Fun. According to the label, Gagged in Boonesville tells the tale of a tenement apartment in, yes, Boonesville. A poster of Medusa in the basement is "mentally poisoning" the tenants, and a pack of rabid dogs haunt the courtyard. This less-than-ideal setting makes for some of Gonzales' more despondant songcraft—"Plastic Door" floats along like a piece of litter in the wind after a series of listless false starts. It's beautiful like waking up in the gutter on a gorgeous day.
Gagged in Boonesville drops June 11 on Not Not Fun and comes with a Medusa collage by the artist and a zine.
Hospital Ships used to be the solo bedroom-pop project of one Jordan Geiger, but on his latest LP, Destruction In Yr Soul, he has invited in a backing band. From what we have heard so far of the album, it exists in the tension between fuzzed out garage rock and twinkly twee pop, a space that Geiger occupies with existential, doom-filled lyrics. Second single "If It Speaks" begins with a plunky keyboard melody and falsetto chanting, but the addition of a cathartic rock guitar line quickly adds some aggression to the track, which closes out with a rousing solo. The addition of other bandmembers gives "If It Speaks" some clarity and cohesion without the loss of Hospital Ships' rural, homemade feel.
Whirr are from the Bay Area, but they are not a garage rock band. Instead, the six-piece has a penchant for dark shoegaze, as was seen on their 2012 release Pipe Dream, which drew comparisons to genre staples like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. Now, the band is back with an EP, Around. The first single off that effort, "Swoon", forgoes Pipe Dream's relatively catchy melodies for ambient and drone inspired sounds. In true shoegaze fashion, singers Kristina Esfandiari and Loren Rivera are almost completely unintelligible, lending their vocal chords to the sweet soundscape that settles around the listener like San Francisco fog on a summer's morning.
An algorave is a rave in which people dance around to algorithms. The phenomenon, which appears to have been largely created by one Alex McLean, is an attempt to break down the barriers between coders and electronic musicians. At an algorave, the musicians will use software such as Max/MSP and live coding to create what the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 describes as “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive conditionals.” According to the algorave website, “the focus is not on what the musician is doing, but on the music, and people dancing to it.” While they originated in the UK and Germany, algoraves are popping up in Mexico and Australia.
Underground techno collective Sandwell District recently closed its doors with the release of the encapsulating Fabric mix, Fabric 69. However, Sandwell District members Regis, Silent Servant, and James Ruskin recently announced a new art and music endeavor, Jealous God. The label falls under the umbrella of Downwards Label, much like Sandwell District did. Its mission statement read that the project is "intended for the mutants of our age" and its goal is to "question the here and now". Regis, (Karl O'Connor) is listed as the director while Silent Servant (Juan Mendez) will run the visual department and James Ruskin will be in charge of music. The imprint is putting out its first release in late May, a 12" entitled Sicario de Dios by SS/S, a collaboration between Silent Servant and Svreca. Each Jealous God release comes with an art zine, and the first 100 will include an artifact-- for example, Sicario de Dios comes with a tote bag and its successor will include an engraved logo dagger. (via Resident Advisor)
Ed Schrader has been a mainstay of the much-lauded Baltimore music scene for a long time. While he was much renowned for his live shows, he did not put out a full-length LP until his 2012 collaboration with Devlin Rice, Jazz Mind. Finally, Shrader has been getting the attention he so richly deserves, contributing a track for Sub Pop's Sup Pop 1000 RSD compilation. The track, "Radio Eyes", now has an accompanying video, directed by Philip Leaman. Watch the musicians get accosted by a bunch of disembodied limbs and sentient apples below.
Sub Pop 1000 is still available at Sub Pop or your local record store.
When the term “lo-fi” gets thrown about, it usually refers to vintage, analogue-based recording methods. But with their new video for Continental Lunch track “Bleacher Honey”, Great Valley have embraced the birth era of the pixel by creating a video that looks like it was shot sometime in the early nineties. In the age of HD, the band’s effort stays stubbornly low-res and utilizes effects taken from our very favorite HTML website. The Brattleboro based band share members with their more buzzed-about cousins Happy Jawbone Family Band and Blanche Blanche Blanche and make homemade, jangly “pretend pop”.