Last year, Burger Records – a DIY label based out of Fullerton, CA that has become the go-to imprint for raucous garage rock – announced it would be putting together a new series of cassette compilations titled Burger World. Each tape features artists from one country, handpicked by label heads Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard from a pool of submissions received in an open call on their Facebook page. Even though the label is only 10 years old, its popularity and name recognition has skyrocketed since it was founded in 2007. It’s hard to keep up with how many projects, collaborations, and releases Burger puts out, but as Bohrman puts it, the unifying principle is “just trying to get good music heard!”
In December of last year, Burger announced that Mexico was the country selected for its second cassette compilation. The label received well over 200 submissions, and the list was pared down to their favorite 13 tracks. According to Bohrman, the eclectic curation was purposeful. “I think there’s a lot of shoegaze, goth, darker punk, post-punk stuff going on right now in Mexico (as far as I heard),” he notes.
Not every band has the opportunity to release on Burger, but they’ve managed to find ways of giving more artists a chance to be part of the family anyway. Through these compilations, Burger is not only inviting artists to reach fans outside of their home bases; it also enables the label to tap new audiences.
For the most part, the tracklist for the Mexican compilation is previously released material, with the exception of Mint Field’s “Club de Chicas.” As Bohrman explains, the intention was to “turn people onto good music from different parts of the world that wouldn’t normally be on their radar.” The compilation presents an excellent artist discovery platform, especially considering current immigration restrictions, which make it harder for international bands come to the U.S. to play or tour.
For those familiar with the music scene in Mexico, the artists who made it onto the list aren’t a huge surprise. Stylistically, it’s a primer on what’s popular in the independent music scene, especially garage, punk, and all the other genres that fit Burger’s roster. Established bands like San Pedro El Cortez, who contributed “Aleluya” from their latest album released on Burger, sit alongside tracks from Has A Shadow and Hawaiian Gremlins. Nelson y Los Filisteos has played extensively and cultivated an established fanbase in Mexico. Other acts, like the jangly shoegaze group Mint Field, are still relatively new to the industry, but they already landed a slot at Coachella. Espejo Convexo has recently solidified a great live show.
A pleasant surprise from the tracklist is “Satánica” by El Muerto, a street performer who wears full goth makeup and has become increasingly popular in Mexico for his campy live show and willingness to play anywhere. On a similar note, El Pan Blanco’s “El Fuzzte” is a cheeky garage number released by the comedic Nuevos Ricos label.
Though half of the artists on the compilation hail from Mexico City and the other from Tijuana, Burger World: Mexico remains a valuable platform for emerging Mexican artists’ exposure to U.S. audiences. Now that Burger Records is expanding to Latin America, there will be plenty more opportunities for hidden gems like these to come to light.