Burger Records is a well-known independent record label in California that makes great cassette tapes. Founded in 2007 by Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard, they’ve put out everyone from Brian Jonestown Massacre to, just recently, Weezer and a lot of lesser-known bands. They put the “burger” in “damn, that’s a good fucking burger.” Now, they’re hosting their fourth Burgerama music festival on March 28 and 29 at The Observatory in Los Angeles. Vortex will be there.
Far be it from me to try to explain to you who bands like Gang of Four and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are—check out the lineup for yourself below. That being said, keep reading and I’ll fill you in on some of the performers you might not be familiar with.
Ty Segall is well known in the psychedelic rock community, but perhaps not known by many other subcultures. Segall is one of those performers who has started enough bands to make his own festival, but he’ll just be performing his own stuff for this festivity. His music is heavy with haunting organs, sharp beats, reverb-soaked vocals and pop sensibilities. I’ve never met anyone who’s heard his music and didn’t enjoy it.
I’ll quote myself from an old Vortex article to describe the Cosmonauts: “Listening to Cosmonauts is like putting your feet up on the table after you’ve had too many drinks at a loud bar. You’re starting to not give a shit, you feel like an outsider, noises are flowing in and out of distinction, and the lights are dimming by the minute. Fear encapsulates your drunken corpse as you try to figure out how you got there.”
White Fang came from Portland and abandoned it like a Taco Bell burrito wrapper when they moved to Los Angeles. They’re strange, silly dudes, and they make tongue-in-cheek, lo-fi garage rock. You start to feel like you’re losing your mind when you listen to White Fang for more than a few hours because their style of music is somewhat jarring. But, you’ll probably be able to stay somewhat sane for their Burgerama performance because the duration won’t be that long, and you will probably enjoy it.
FIDLAR is a fantastic punk band from Los Angeles that has some psychedelic overtones. They’re not afraid to scream or bust your eardrums with high-pitched feedback. I’d imagine that if you had FIDLAR and the Black Lips (see below) play a show at your house on the same night, there wouldn’t be a damn thing left but a chimney stack when it was over.
Seattle’s La Luz is a great PacNW psychedelic pop band. They’re dreamy, irreverent and strangely charming. La Luz’s music makes you feel like you just took some ecstasy and jumped in a pool. Their layered, high-pitched vocals flow over beachy tunes and the occasional shriek—listen below.
Black Lips are a badass punk rock band that epitomize what punk rock should be these days. They’re flippant, drunk, strange kids. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and they’ve been known to wreck a place during a show. Their music is like a party anthem, with jangling guitars, consistent rhythm, wailing vocals and a sense that they just set something on fire—see for yourself below.
I don’t want to drone on, listing every band on the lineup, but it’s a worthwhile show. Shannon and the Clams will also be there, and Craft Spells, and Ariel Pink and a bunch of other talent: Nick Waterhouse, J Mascis, Tennis, King Khan, Tobacco, Jacco Gardner, Dengue Fever, Colleen Green, Cherry Glazerr and on and on. If you can gather a bus full of lunatics and get to Los Angeles, then I recommend you do.