- Courtesy Of Luke Awtry
Few things annoy me more in this world than when friends invite me to their children's birthday parties. What an incongruence! You get hyped for a party, but then you read the text more closely and realize it's at a pizza place and the theme is Underwater Robots or Monkeys Who Like Math. (Look, I don't know what kids like, OK?) It's such a downer. Do you even recall any of your childhood birthday parties? No! No one gives a shit about any of their birthday parties until alcohol or sex becomes involved. You can quote me on that — I'm an award-winning journalist nowadays. Also, maybe I just had lame childhood birthday parties? Both things can be true, my friends.
That said, I was very excited when I got the invite to a one-year birthday blowout this Thursday, May 25, at Radio Bean in Burlington. The things might be pointless when some soon-to-be amnesiac baby — childhood amnesia is a thing; look it up! — is getting their cake, but not when it's the anniversary of the formation of the coolest department of local government in Burlington history. Don't @ me, Public Works and Parks, Recreation & Waterfront stans. No amount of bike lanes or summer camps can compete with the mystery, the rush of sonic mayhem, and tidal waves of synths, synths and more synths that the Burlington Electronic Department commands.
Launched in 2022 by Zack Schuster, the mastermind behind synthwave outfit Roost.World, the BED isn't affiliated with the City of Burlington. Though, really, why not? C'mon, Miro. This city needs fucking synthwave dance parties, and you know it.
For now, Schuster runs and curates the live series and is prepared to give a full yearly report of the Department's initial returns.
According to an email from Schuster, the Department is continually "trying to generate value for our consumers. But at the same time, we are analyzing the trends and figuring out what this company and its shareholders really need in the grand scheme."
If that all sounds very administrative, fear not — this is still a birthday party, and the lineup features a jumbo-size helping of killer electronic music. Taking over both the Bean and the Light Club Lamp Shop, the celebration includes Appalled Eagles, Disco Phantom, Dutch Experts, Genderdeath, Takahiko matsui (aka DJ Taka), Roost.World and plenty more — 19 acts and seven hours of music, all told. If that's not community service, I don't know what is.
To further commemorate the occasion, the BED is releasing its first company video on Wednesday, May 24, with a compilation album, Burlington Electronic Department Compilation 001, out the following day. The album features a bevy of remixes from a wide range of local(ish) talent, such as Xen Chron, Famous Letter Writer and many of the artists on the birthday show bill. It will be available in physical form only at the show on Thursday, with a digital release in June.
As for what the Department has planned for its second year, Schuster noted that a new Roost.World album is on the way, as well as a "free party for the people" in the summer.
"We don't really know what's next for the company," they wrote. "But I imagine it will involve trends and numbers ... and maybe some more parties."
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