Boogie Boarder: Pizza Hero

A.J. Ramirez

Boogie Boarder’s approach is quite honestly much truer to the original spirit of surf music than any standard tremolo-ed guitar lick backed by rumbling drums has been in a long while.

Boogie Boarder

Pizza Hero

Label: Famous Class
US Release Date: 2009-06-23
UK Release Date: 2009-06-23

Pizza Hero is the second release by Brooklyn-based group Boogie Boarder on Famous Class, a DIY label-slash-collective of musicians and artists that have been working together since 2003 on a variety of projects including records, DVDs, and even comics. From the outset, Boogie Boarder would have you believe it is a simple high-concept proposition: lo-fi surf pop. The band doesn’t seem to mind: Boogie Boarder’s press describes its sound as “the beast-lord avatar of a two-minute pop song”, and the booklet-shaped packaging is littered with precious drawings like nude people with hamburger heads and cats clinging to the waves on boogie boards. In theory, it should all be tinny surf licks played dead simple and with little musical finesse. Simple, really?

Well, the music on Boogie Boarder’s second release isn’t entirely consistent with the image it attempts to convey. Rather, the eight-song album plays like Midwestern noise rockers trying to craft their idea of a fun summertime pop album, which is far more interesting. Any hints of surf rock are twisted about and stretched out into winding riffs of numerous sorts. More importantly, vocals are sparse, largely limited to atmospheric “ahhhs” and the occasional sing-along refrain. Boogie Boarder’s approach is quite honestly much truer to the original spirit of surf music than any standard tremolo-ed guitar lick backed by rumbling drums has been in a long while.

The first two songs, “Sparks” and “Bio Hassle”, are not too far off from the high concept byline. The guitars buzz politely, the bass guitar is a squelching, fuzzy contraption, and the drums sound like knuckles rapping on glass. The first clue that something’s amiss is that there’s a nice separation of sound, allowing the band to emphasize instrumental interplay. It’s with the third and fourth track, “Pig Pile Part One” and “Pig Pile Part Two”, that the group’s math rock background crystallizes fully. This pair of songs showcases meandering song structures, clattering liquid riffs, and gargantuan surges from quiet to loud and back again; these traits are present through the album, but these two songs markedly point them out. Boogie Boarder’s chops are worth admiring, and it is definitely nice to hear something aside from the same bouncy rhythms and “la-la-la” vocals you’d get on much DIY indie pop.

Ultimately, Pizza Hero is indeed lo-fi surf pop, but Boogie Boarder’s Load Records jones ensures the album hits the mark in a way that’s not panderingly obvious. The point of surf music in the first place was to try and convey the sounds and sensations of the Pacific Coast through a Fender guitar and a tube amp, everything from the feel of one’s body cruising the tide in order to find the perfect wave, to simply strolling down the beach on a warm summer afternoon with no clear idea of what to do. Over time, invention became cliché, and what constituted surf music became tired variations on a theme that lost sight of its original intent. Boogie Boarder isn’t and has no intention of being the Ventures, and approaching beach music from a different genre perspective is what makes this a fine summertime album. This is a rough and tumble record for a day on the sand, a catchy soundtrack for drinking with your buddies too close to the water and starting a bonfire when the sun goes down.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.