Do you like 70s-influenced songs about malls? How about sickeningly sweet pop jams that talk about being a princess? Then do I have the record label for you!
I’ve been following Fullerton, California-based label Burger Records for the past few years, mostly in awe of its insane output and great yearly Burgerama lineups. The label does have some diversity, including French pop and soul, but the majority of its releases are in the California garage vein (think Ty Segal).
Some Burger Records fun facts:
- One of their specialties is tapes, so often they do the cassette version of a release on a different (or bigger) label. They even have a subsidy called Wiener Records that is all cassettes.
- They put out hundreds of new releases per year. Even Wikipedia can’t keep up.
- They run two record stores–the original in Fullerton, from which they run the label, and a just-opened shop in LA, a collaboration with Gnar Tapes.
- The New York Times knows who they are.
- Have an Etsy shop, where they sell tees and other cool merch.
- Make great use of my favorite font, which I lovingly call “70s baseball tees.”
It would be impossible for me to listen to all their releases and post about it–I just don’t have that kind of time and it would all start to sound the same after three days of listening to nothing else. So, I will just encourage you to dig through their discography and find what you like. You know I prefer the catchy shit, so here’s a run down of some of my favorite recent releases, including a few from-the-vaults reissues.
Remember how good those first few Best Coast 7″s were–all smoking weed and the California sun and boys (well, not much has changed with Bethany’s themes I guess)? Meet your new summer soundtrack.
Man, I hate puppets. Regardless, I am wondering why Curtis Harding isn’t super famous yet.
Feels, formerly the much-easier-to-Google Raw Geronimo, are soooo right up my alley. One of the girls was in The Like, who I really enjoyed. I need them to put out a record, tout de suite!
The first of two reruns, I just wanted to remind you about this band.
Jacco, who is Dutch, is putting out his great new LP Hypnophobia on Polyvinyl, but the cassette is a collaboration with Burger. I plan to spend more time with this when I tear myself away from the next thing on the list.
The aforementioned mall song is on John Krautner’s amazing LP, Fun with Gum Vol. 1, which is a nod to its 60s bubblegum sound, though there is a lot of 70s and 80s singer-songwriter in there too. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (He’s in two other bands from his native Detroit, The Go and Conspiracy of Owls, and I’m working my way through their stuff, too).
I am pretty ignorant of French pop that is not from the 1960s, but Laure’s music, which is more psych-influenced, is completely lovely.
While I have previously spent time listening to several of the other artists on this list (mainly Curtis Harding and Peach Kelli Pop), hearing Michael Rault’s GREAT Living Daylight, made me think, “I want more like this!” causing me to spend all Saturday night flipping through Spotify and composing this post. I need to get out more, I know.
Miss Chain & the Broken Heels
Part of the cassette reissue series, Miss Chain is Italian and have a kind of garage-gypsy sound that makes me think of Katie. Why isn’t the Italian entrant from Eurovision ever this good?
Mitchell Adam Johnson
I was not expecting this at all from Burger, who put out this cassette release after Mitchell sent them a demo. I am a sucker for this twee artwork.
Peach Kelli Pop
I have covered PKP before, but they (really, just one girl who goes by the name Kelli Pop) are so goddamn fun and just put out a new record.
I think I was obsessed with ten bands that sounded like this in college, most of whom were on Polyvinyl. I mean this absolutely in the nicest way. Fronted by Brian Bell, The Relationship makes music that I enjoy so much more than anything his other band, Weezer, has put out in the last 15 years.
I recently lamented the loss of the wonderful All Girl Summer Fun Band on Twitter after I discovered they put out a third record I’d never heard. Thankfully the work of Summer Twins (it’s the magic of “summer”) can be subbed in on all your funtime playlists too.
Even though Burger is definitely associated with a sunny southern California location and a particular scene, it is a quite the international label. The first time I heard Dungen, I was blown away that a band, whose genre felt so familiar to me, was singing in another language. “Panda” seemed much closer than Sweden. It was what was happening in my backyard too. When I first heard Israel’s Vaadat Charigim, I felt the same thing, but they prefer heavy shoegaze.