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Monday, July 7, 2014

Boogie Boarder - Pizza Hero

Name: Boogie Boarder
Album: Pizza Hero
Year: 2009
Style: Instrumental Prog/Indie
Similar Acts: Chomolodeon, Man Man, Mr. Heavenly, Holy Fuck, Cornelius
"One Word" Review: Surf Prog
Based Out Of: Brooklyn, NY
Label: Famous Class
 Pizza Hero - Cover and Back
 Pizza Hero - Inside Cover and Inside Back
 Pizza Hero - Pages 1-31
Pizza Hero - Page 32 & CD
Pizza Hero (2009)

  1. Sparks 3:46
  2. Bio Hassle 4:17
  3. Pig Pile Part One 2:33
  4. Pig Pile Part Two 4:24
  5. Bummers Begin 4:09
  6. Little Giants 4:58
  7. Dirty Gary 0:59
  8. USRA 4:48
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Cyrus Lubin - Drums
Willie Miesmer - Bass
Paul Gladstone - Keys

Unknown-ness: I don’t know anything about this band. Just saw the ‘zine in a thrift store 50 cent bin, and thought it was worth the look & listen. I’ve always been a fan of artwork to accompany the music: I think that’s just the way to fully experience the music: to take in visually what the artist wants to link to the audio. And this is why I don’t subscribe to the MP3 game. It’s easier and more accessible in general, but music loses a lot of its artistic value standing alone. So with a band called Boogie Boarder, plus a juvenile album name like pizza hero, combined with the cd inside a ‘zine, I’m really not sure what to expect. Perhaps something zany and experimental.

Album Review:  
With no musical credits in the liner note, it took some searching to find out any info on this Brooklyn band. The album is still available for purchase, and with their last album streaming on band camp from 2012 (recorded in Philly), it would seem they are a still active, mostly instrumental prog-like surf band.

“Sparks” begins the album with layers of fuzzy guitars Smashing Pumpkins-like guitars, and echos of other effects zooming about below. The hook repeats a bunch of times, building up momentum and releasing it after every cycle. It then returns the the prog like intro melody, with some deep echoing vocals. Single note prog rock on the electric guitar fills the bridge between “verse” melodies. This song insists on grooving head nods as the requisite dance move. An alarm like guitar played on loop carries the song out and into a low hum.
“Bio Hassle” is driven along by a catchy bass line, and “passing car” guitars are scattered (but in rhythm) across the surface. The chorus is a distorted vocal section that parallels the lead guitar melody. The song speeds up and slows down in a fun roller coaster of time changes, and again, has that progressive feel to the arrangement. Yet underneath of it, with the crashing fuzz and the chirping guitar, is the element of Surf that is not immediately recognizable, but is undeniably there. He song finishes up on a nice back and forth guitar section that feels like a reprise of the chorus guitar/vocal parallel.
“Pig Pile Part One” starts with a twinkling jangley guitar, that is part surf and part shoegazing. It meanders around, only giving hints to the catchy pure surf hook that is coming up. It really creates the image of the waiting for waves, and then the ocean sucking you out with the tide, and building to a fun carnival ride, taking the wave to the shore, then starting over again with the patient waiting. The layers are fun to peel back and examine one at a time: The pinpoint lead guitar hook, the bass answering the lead guitar, and the crunchy supportive guitar, All pulled together with a minimal drum beat. As the song moves forward, abandoning the initial melodies for bigger and more crashing sections, the intervals repeat, the momentum continues to grow and the speed builds. It then dumps us off right where the song begins with the guitar and echoing effects layered underneath. The last minute of the song builds a wall of sound until it falls away with a couple final notes.
“Pig Pile Part Two” has a back and forth guitar/bass cadence with crashing cymbals and the feeling of directionless meandering. The song speeds up and slows down on a natural cycle of its own, and again to the nature of video game music, could be played at an infinite hook, and adding in the theme of prog rock, with slight variations to those repetitions. The plucked guitar alarm-simulation melody starts out strong, but fades to the back with the soaring, echoing vocals, while layered over are head banging chord changes coupled with crashing drums. Then it stops abruptly.

“Bummers Begin” possesses a looping bass and rhythm guitar section with crashing cymbals added, as the bass line jumps up and down octaves in rotation. A minute later, the song transitions to a more driving Video Game sounding section of Mega Man proportions. Man Man “la-la-la-la” style vocals are added into the song, and the song restructures itself, and builds with ringing guitars and building fuzzed up guitars and running drums. A guitar replaces the vocal melody, and it feels very prog-like. At 3:30, it returns to the introduction loop of bass and one note played rhythm guitar.
“Little Giants” has a similar start to it as PPP1. Then the bass is added in in short call and response intervals, all the while, a shuffling drum beat keeps he song nervous and just a little jittery. This song really feels something out of Cornelius’ catalogue.  The song is very tight, with short sections played out in a well-crafted structure.
“Dirty Gary” is immediately a repetitive trip back into an early 90’s alternative world, with an In Utero sounding guitar riff.
“USRA” transitions without break, flattening the sound out, allowing a chorus of distorted vocals enter, overlaying the heavy guitar base. Once in a while the surf guitar element will be added, but mostly, this is a head down & banging, heavy guitar display. Nearing the end, the guitars and underlying support guitars speed up over hectic and chaotic drumming. They find a middle ground and set out in agreement, simplifying the melody and then changing it again to a more driving pace, allowing an organ in the background, and more distorted vocals overlaid. The organ carries out the song for a 30 second note hold.

Stand Out Track: Pig Pile Part One


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