I’m usually not a fan of split singles or split releases due to the strong possibility of having to pay twice as much for half of what I want, but if ever there was a split release that shoots a that theory to shit it is this Ginnels & Tangible Excitement! split 12″. Tangible Excitement! is Scott Stevens of Summer Cats, Stew Anderson of Boyracer and Mark Monnone of the Lucksmiths along with some help by the likes of Gary Olsen (Ladybug Transistor), James Hoare (Ultimate Painting/Veronica Falls) and Jeremy Underwood (Gold-Bears). It’s an all-star lineup with a performance to back up their stats. Opener Northland Food Court has a Love Forever Changes vibe to it courtesy of its Mexican tinged acoustic guitar riff and Olsen’s trumpet. It’s a stunner and worth the price of admission, but there’s more. Baby’s Seen This Scene Before has the sound of an indiepop classic and Effectively Wild is the almost Boyracer-like with it’s buzzy guitars knocking another one out of the park.
There’s no time to catch your breath unless your’re slow to the turntable to flip the record because the Ginnels side ain’t no minor league fare. Mark Chester is a prolific fellow who has a number of releases on cassette and recently a few on vinyl via Tenorio Cotobade. Here we get three great new Ginnels songs. Easier When I’m Gone has a chorus that is part Teenage Fanclub and part Superchunk and easily get’s stuck in your head. Whew! Reason To Be Helpful might just be my favorite Ginnels song yet with its thumping soulful bass, cool lazy guitar riff and super furry vibes. This is one split release you need to buy two of so you can file one under Ginnels and the other under Tangible Excitement!
This week I was blasted out my post turkey malaise while listening to Chromewaves Radio. Out of my cheap earbuds came some of the best possessed white noise I’ve heard in ages. Kent State, not the Ohio one but the Los Angeles one hit a sweet spot that is somewhere in the red and poking its bony elbows into Sonic Youth, Swervedriver,Boyracer and Times New Viking territory.
Earlier this year the band released The Wrong Side of History which collects all of their cassette only releases onto a single slab of vinyl. The album is also up on their bandcamp site as a free/pay what you like download. Yes, to some noise annoys, but Kent State can deftly bury a melody just beneath their squall or stash a bass line somewhere deep under their maelstrom and make you feel like you’re floating on a bed of spikes just above the fray. Bleeding ears never felt so good.
It’s monday night and I’m stuck in Victoria, BC the retirement capitol of Canada while My Bloody Valentine are likely blowing the roof off of the WAMU Theatre down in Seattle. Work sometimes gets in the way of my rock n’ roll lifestyle. Since I’ve got the time , let’s talk about noise pop, not the ethereal type that MBV specialize in, but noise pop that is so trebly it drills through your skull and pierces your ears. I’m talking Boyracer. Here’s a band that could make their guitars screech, and feedback with the best of them. I have long been of the opinion that this band has not gotten the recognition it so truly deserves. Sure, if you talk in the right circles Boyracer get their props and are revered, and referred to in hushed knowing tones. Bands today like Times New Viking, Eat Skull, Wavves, Sic Alps, Tyvek, Ty Segal, and Psychedelic Horseshit among many others are mining similar veins of gold that Boyracer already did way back in the 90’s. I never hear Boyracer referenced as a forerunner of any of these bands and I’m not sure why because it’s so obvious. My only guess is that people have somehow forgotten this Leeds band. Maybe if they had been on Creation instead of Sarah, Slumberland, Zero Hour and their own 555 they would have gotten, and would now be getting some recognition.
With Boyracer, treble was always the key ingredient and the bass was always an afterthought. Along with Action Painting! they were the black sheep of the Sarah Records roster, not adhering to the gentle twee that most of the other bands on the label subscribed to. No, Boyracer liked to peg the needles in the red on every song with singer Stewart Anderson (and the only constant in the band) wiring his vocals through what seemed like some cheap kitchen appliance. Boyracer songs were recorded quick, came in bushels and were mostly pretty short. A Boyracer album usually contained no less than 20 songs, eps usually had at least 10, and singles usually were stuffed with at least 5 songs. The band were extremely prolific, releasing albums and singles on a multitude of labels just like Wavves, Fresh and Onlys, Blank Dogs and so many others are doing today. They had a handful of contemporaries like Bristol’s Beatnik Filmstars and San Francisco’s Henry’s Dress with whom they released split singles. Another contemporary was Hood, which was formed by Richard Adams an early member of Boyracer. Anderson also recorded records under the moniker of Steward and teamed up with Hula Hoop‘s Eric Stoess for Hulaboy.
Boyracer sort of broke up after the album In Full Colour and getting dropped by their label Zero Hour in 1997, but then reformed in 2000 and resumed their rigorous release schedule with records on Happy Happy Birthday to Me, Foxy Boy and 555. Anderson also has kept up his partnership with Stoess and has just relased a third Hulaboy album called Olympic Krush On The Hulaboy which was pressed at an insanely limited 100 vinyl copies. Boyracer seems to be on a hiatus again but Mr. Anderson and his partner Jen Turrell have a new band called Cheap Red in which they are teaming up with ex-members of Kanda who are from Portland, Oregon. A double album is due soon on 555 as well as an appearance a the San Francisco Popfest in May.
So I suppose some things just never change, whether it’s Boyracer, Hulaboy, or Cheap Red Stewart Anderson keeps flying under the radar and criminally and perennially out of fashion. But thankfully he keeps plugging away. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite Boyracer songs. The best place to start is to get Boyfuckingracer which is an excellent compilation of most of the highlights from 93-97. Most of this stuff is out of print, so you can try your luck on Amazon and Ebay.