Although leader Stewart Anderson is seemingly incapable of keeping a band lineup together for more than a couple of records at a time, his band Boyracer is one of the longest-running and most prolific bands of the '90s U.K. indie pop scene. Noisier and more aggressive than many of their rather twee contemporaries, Boyracer actually has more in common with more rocking American indie bands like Henry's Dress or Pavement than with any of their contemporaries on the estimable UK indie Sarah Records.
Boyracer formed in Wetherby, England, a suburb of Leeds, in 1990, taking their name from the teenage boys who dragged the town's main street on summer nights. The first lineup was Anderson on guitar and vocals, Richard Adams on guitar and keyboards, Simon on bass, and James on drums (like many British indie bands of the era, Boyracer adopted the habit of listing its members by first name only on all releases and promo materials, and some members' last names remain mysteries), a lineup that only lasted long enough to record one single, "Railway" backed with "Reverse," released in April 1992, and half of a split single with the Louisville, KY, group Hula Hoop that July.
Adams left the band to concentrate on his own electronica-oriented project, Hood, just before the release of the shoegazey three-track Naked EP in February 1993. The new three-piece lineup signed with Sarah Records that spring and released the quickly-recorded B Is for Boyracer EP in May. The songs started becoming shorter and punkier at this point, as shown both on the Sarah EP and on a 10" mini-album recorded with Hula Hoop entitled Louisville/Leeds TKO, released on A Turntable Friend in July 1993. Capping a seriously prolific year, the five-track From Purity to Purgatory EP, their second Sarah release, was released in October.
James and Simon left the band acrimoniously in February 1994, and Anderson recruited Matty Green on guitar and ex-Hood Nicola Hodgkinson on bass, along with a drummer named Kevin. This lineup recorded Boyracer's first full-length album, More Songs About Frustration and Self-Hate, which came out in May 1994, and that summer's Best Flipstar EP before Kevin was booted from the group. His replacement, Ged Megurn, joined the group after the recording of Boyracer's third and final Sarah EP, Pure Hatred 96, on which Anderson doubled on drums. Following the band's first U.S. tour, the second album, We Are Made of the Same Wood, came out in early 1995. Upping the noise quotient even further, the group recorded their exceedingly lo-fi next release, Pain, Plunder and Personal Loss, live on a four-track in their communal home.
Boyracer went up a level in commercial visibility in 1995 when they signed to the New York-based Zero Hour label. A curious little 5" vinyl single, "West Riding House," came out later that year, followed in early 1996 by their third full-length album, Boyracer in Full Colour. The record sold poorly and Zero Hour unceremoniously booted the band off the label in the middle of an extensive U.S. tour. By this time, however, Boyracer were firm favorites on the U.S. indie scene, and the group released a staggering half-dozen singles on six different American indies before 1996 was through. However, the group seemed to tire of both the grind and each other, and they split upon the release of the "Present Tense" single in early 1997.
In late 2000, Anderson formed a new edition of Boyracer. Retaining Green on second guitar and adding bassist Jen (from Rabbit in Red) and drummer Frank (from the Bright Lights), the new lineup toured the U.S. in support of Boyfuckingracer, a 33-track compilation of new songs and favorites from the 1991-1997 singles, EPs, and albums. ~ Stewart Mason