Ask any teenage punk and they’ll tell you Burger Records is among the most love-it-or-loathe-it independent record labels out there. Whatever your opinion of the label — which, if you’re over 45, probably doesn’t exist — they definitely know how to throw a kickass festival.
The often bizarre but always fantastic two-day festival has grown steadily since organizers moved it to Mosswood Park in 2013, but 2017 marks its biggest headliner ever: none other than Iggy Pop himself.
If you’re headed to the party, here are the five acts we recommend catching.
Two excellent albums and one Ty Segall cosign in, Los Angeles (by way of Seattle) fourpiece La Luz is getting awfully close to mastering its spiraling, taut surf rock. It’s difficult to pin the group down perfectly. Elements of psych-rock and ’60s girl group pop continually permeate their dusky melodies. Put together, a strange yet oddly delectable darkness undercuts even their brightest and surf-iest melodies, which has made La Luz a truly distinct and original band within an otherwise overworked genre. More like this, please.
Shannon and the Clams
Oakland’s own Shannon and the Clams are Boogaloo veterans, and also one of the best bands on Burger’s roster. Led by frontwoman Shannon Shaw, the outfit blends garage punk with kitschy, ’60s doo wop and sugary pop hooks. On last year’s Gone By The Dawn, Shaw and company mashed cheeky odes to Corvettes and highly danceable breakup songs. For a band that clearly takes songwriting seriously, the results are effortlessly enjoyable.
Quintron and Miss Pussycat
Your Republican dad who loves the Rolling Stones probably wouldn’t be into it, but Quintron and Miss Pussycat are the best kind of weird. The duo’s oddball electronic music – often paired with kooky puppet shows created and staged by Miss Pussycat herself – defies proper categorization. It’s as playful as it is thoughtfully experimental. Over the last decade and a half, their 14 album discography has plunged listeners headfirst into psychedelic soul, dance, electronica, funk, noise pop, and prog. And as it turns out, outsider pop is far from dead.
You know the hits – “Lust For Life,” “The Passenger” – and there’s a fairly good chance Iggy Pop will stick to them come his headlining set this weekend. But it’s worth noting that the hardboiled and longtime punk legend is still making interesting, provocative music. He enlisted Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme to help him craft his most recent album, Post Pop Depression, and ended up creating a dynamic and multi-layered album that sounds distinctly Iggy yet miles away from the punchy punk-rock The Stooges were known for. If you haven’t heard “Gardenia” or “Sunday,” go fix that. Like, right now.
Whatever it is, Baby Shakes has it. Hailing from New York City, the quartet plays power-pop reminiscent of Ex Hex and The Ramones – “I’ll Be Alright” has the same bright-yet-manic feel of “Let’s Dance” or “California Sun.” It’s impossible to feel less than ecstatic while listening to Baby Shakes’ sunshine-y punk riffs, simply constructed and quickly strummed for maximum danceability. There’s a certain classic feel to Baby Shakes’ brand of punk – and yes, they have the leather jackets to show for it – but it’s as enjoyable in 2017 as ever.