Mega Bog Enchants with Debut Album ‘Gone Banana’

“It was real magic.” That’s how Erin Birgy, frontwoman of Mega Bog, describes the Seattle-based band’s genesis — and it’s a turn of phrase one could use to capture the atmosphere of the group’s debut album Gone Banana, out September 23 via Couple Skate Records. The record takes delightfully unexpected turns through its nine tracks, mixing together subdued vocals, fuzzy riffs, and deliberate bass lines with a saxophone that often slices through melodies with free-spirited and seductive cries.

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The antics tucked into Mega Bog’s songs have roots that stretch to her youth: in her early teens, Birgy pretended she was Iggy Pop and danced in front of the mirror; at 14, she took up various instruments while playing in a rock band, then moved on to teach herself to play bass — with her toes.

Five summers ago, Birgy crossed paths with Zach Burba (who also makes music under the moniker Iji) before each went on separate tours with his or her other bands. They clicked instantly and upon returning to Seattle began to produce music under Mega Bog, playing interactive shows where their audience would throw down playing cards to “decide what kind of show they were in the mood for,” as Birgy recounts.

Stacks of self-released tapes and CDs later, Mega Bog embarked on a mini-tour this July, halfway through which they stopped at Brooklyn’s Silent Barn where I watched them play. Maintaining the same looseness that characterized their first gigs, Mega Bog switch their lineup from show to show, its members, size, and setlist in constant flux. (That night at Silent Barn, Birgy was joined on stage by members of Montreal-grown outfit Sheer Agony.)

Most of the tracks played during the mini-tour were off Gone Banana, an album born from hot summer days spent lounging in Birgy’s house, fittingly christened “Magic Lanes” after a local bowling alley. Recorded with everyone piled in her tiny bedroom — at times after shedding all their clothes due to the sweltering temperature — the songs reflect a transitional moment of her life, the creative process serving as a means of self-fulfillment.

“I had just taken a break from seeing a person I had been seeing for a long time and moved into a house again with friends,” Birgy said, “and we decided to produce something to feel satisfied with the place I was at.”

And listening to Gone Banana, too, leaves one with a sense of satisfaction; with its unrestricted experimentation with a range of instruments and Birgy’s own elastic vocals, it’s an album resolutely pumped with bliss, right through its final, fading notes.

 

Erin’s WILD Wish: “It would be great if people got comfortable with themselves and do what they want to do, like live experimentally and live unreliably sometimes.”

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text by: Claire Voon

photography by: Connor Durkin










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