“Burger Kids,” a term floating around the Southern California music scene as of late, refers to the youthful, cassette-wielding crowd that religiously follows Fullerton-based label Burger Records, which was founded in 2007 by two members of Thee Makeout Party. The label throws various mini-festivals in California including Burger Boogaloo, Burgerama, and Burger-A-Go-Go; and has more recently expanded to Burger Caravan, a nationwide tour featuring Burger artists.
The label’s self-description sums everything up: “Burger Records is a rock n roll philanthropic quasi-religious borderline-cultish propaganda spreading group of suburban perma-teen mutants!!!“
Burger favorites, The Growlers, threw a Halloween surf-rock party in Santa Ana, California in late October.
The name of the festival isn’t really related to the music it features — it’s most fittingly applied to the crowd, who were adorned with a mix of tie-dye, chokers, colorful hair, and alien-themed apparel that weekend. Burger Records has created its own aesthetic, based around Southern California, beach apparel, and ’90s nostalgia, with a hit of angst — think Zenon meets ‘The Dude.’
With a strong online presence — Facebook and Instagram announce its daily releases or reissues — and its sheer mass of discography, the label is making Southern California DIY accessible to a larger audience. They have even released music from the influential Redd Kross and local power pop legends The Muffs. Newer bands have also experienced accelerated recognition, comparatively-speaking, thanks to the label — Cherry Glazerrs’ Clementine Creevy (who also performed at Beach Goth) was recently featured in Nylon.
Punk legends The Dickies played this year and called out the scene for its lack of authenticity: “We’re not goths,” proclaimed Leonard Graves Phillips. It’s hard to really take the scene seriously — even when you’re the lead singer of a sugar-punk band that does covers of Saturday Morning Cartoon theme songs.
Experiencing a festival varies a lot from genre to genre — you have a bit of moshing during more punk bands, like Joyce Manor or Andrew Jackson Jihad’s sets (both bands not signed with Burger and known for their loyal fan base), but even during Alice Glass’s dance-y, twilight set, we were astounded by the lack of movement in the crowd — Glass tweeted about scheduling problems experienced by herself and fellow female-fronted act Bleached that day, stating, “if I was a man maybe I could have played for 30 minutes […].”
The constant barrage of new music has created a following for the label itself more than anything. With Beach Goth at a close, it was time for the Burger Kids to head back to Los Angeles or their respective suburban homes to await the next surf-goth-punk-electronic event or sugar-pop-lofi-grunge release but, knowing Burger, they won’t be waiting long.
Article by Penelope Leggett
Photos by Alexis Dawn