BOYRACER: More Songs About Frustration And Self-Hate (LP, A Turntable Friend TURN 20, 1994)

Boyracer - More Songs About Frustration And Self-Hate

This is a great album and one that I listened to very regularly soon after its release. I was a big fan of Boyracer in the 1990s, as they bridged a gap between the indie-pop and the noisy weirdo music that I was simultaneously listening to a lot of at the time. They were more on the indie-pop side of things, but not afraid to veer into odd feedback or song structures on a whim, and this resulted in no end of catchy-yet-strange songs. This record is vibrant clear red vinyl, and the sleeve also contains an A4 photocopied insert that includes, as so many records did at the time, the actual postal address of one of the band – no PO Box number or faceless URL here.

That postal address was a house on Spofforth Hill in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, which was also the street you’ll see in contact addresses on early Hood records. Hood, who towards the late 1990s got signed to Domino and for a brief period were ‘almost a big thing’, were very closely allied to Boyracer – as well as members living opposite eachother on Spofforth Hill, for a time they shared and swapped band members and appeared jointly on no end of compilation records and tapes (including several that I released myself). For a time I wished I lived on Spofforth Hill, to be part of what seemed like a very vibrant mini-scene centred around a single street: I was in touch by letter with members of both Hood and Boyracer for some years, and between them they furnished me with a lot of musical knowledge in the form of mixtapes, recommendations and through their own music.

A Turntable Friend was an indie-pop record label based in Germany, who were a bit of a ‘German Sarah records’ – indeed, Boyracer released records on Sarah as well as A Turntable Friend. There’s a good discography of everything released by the label on the TweeNet website, which also includes a not-comprehensive-but-not-bad list of Boyracer releases.

The inner sleeve of my copy of More Songs About Frustration And Self-Hate is signed by Stewart and Nicola of the band. This makes me happy today, as it did on the day the record arrived after my purchasing it directly from that house on Spofforth Hill.

SEE MY SOUND: Hidden Depths (7″, Distraction DIST1, 2004)

See My Sound - Hidden Depths

It happens, more than I’m really happy to admit, that often when I pull out a random record to write about I have literally no idea where it came from, why I have it or what the band and/or the music sounds like. This seven-inch represents one of those times: I don’t think I bought it, I don’t recognise the band or label name, and peering at the front cover doesn’t spark any memories.

So, further investigation begins to unfold a story:

  1. As well as the record, the sleeve contains a promotional ‘one-sheet’ press release about the record, suggesting that the record was sent to me for reviewing purposes. The press release contains a few nuggets of PR hyperbole as one would hope and expect – for example “…Distraction, an events-cum-record label movement set up to offer a challenging alternative to the monotonous gutterswipe cluttering up the music ‘scene'” and “See My Sound beat out a cerebral yet sexual pulse, a hypnotic whirlpool of affected guitars, anchored by an undertow of dub bass and pounding drums”. Does that help?
  2. The sleeve also contains a handwritten note from a friend of mine that also once wrote for the Diskant website that I used to contribute to regularly. It says “Any chance you could review this 7″ for Diskant please? I’d do it myself but I can’t muster the energy/quell the vitriol”.

So that explains things – I didn’t buy this record, and it wasn’t originally meant for me, but it found its way to me in the hope of garnering a review on a website. Unfortunately, having just searched comprehensively on Diskant, it seems that I never published a review.

So, sorry, Distraction Records. Sorry, See My Sound. Perhaps the press release didn’t inspire me to put pen to paper (or, indeed, fingers to keyboard). The description of the band I’ve just come across on a Distraction Records BandCamp page is far more compelling: “Think early Public Image Ltd via Explosions in the Sky with a touch of Godspeed and Arab Strap”. I don’t write for Diskant any more, though, so it’s all too late.