October 21st, 2023
Real deal outsider pop music. Rough Trade Head Buyer David Perry examines the most recent work of American songwriter Erin Elizabeth Birgy, who composes under the fluid musical moniker Mega Bog.
It’s very easy to stay in the pocket of success. Look at any festival headlining blues chooglers, or any classic festival headliner ever really. They’re getting older, don’t you know. The mantra of it “it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is writ large in helvetica across the face of modern music – across genre and across time. Success : it’s one hell of a drug, but it isn’t for free.
Sometimes artists just get too big, and they stop being that precious little band you grew up with. Everyone gets to have them, but do they deserve it? Did they put the early emotion into the band you did, the hard miles before they became cultural wallpaper? You’re looking at career artists now, who’ll do two songs that will ignite your interest in concert if you’re lucky. Every couple of years, forever maybe. The artists you’re almost afraid to listen to because they could ruin everything you held dear about them on that next record. Life’s a gamble isn’t it?
In all honesty, only a handful of visionaries push things forward in each generation – challenging us to figure out what the mystery is within them and what that mystery is, in fact, telling us. Those that are lucky enough are championed to lead the vanguard of modern music are often corrupted by time, loss of inspiration or if painfully unlucky, both.
But true magic, the type that can only be found at the edge of the envelope, is always found by those willing to go further into the wake of these titans. Finding artists that never compromised, that never bent their integrity and did it their way, always. Most likely these are the artists who unknowingly forged a new path through force of talent and determination – not selling a huge amount of records, but creating works of import we’ll be decoding for years after the event.
I think we can include Mega Bog, Erin Elizabeth Birgy‘s self described “nightmarish experimental pop ensemble” in the same bracket as The Velvets, Destroyer and all the greats that made secret masterpieces for us (not them). Switching stylistically from Lynchian Sax Jazz, to edgy bossa via plucked eerie progressive folk rock across the course of seven albums, finally landing in their current form as synth provocateurs with their (frankly absolutely perfect) 2023 release End of Everything. It arrived to critical fanfare and sold a few records, thankfully. But it should have reached way, way more people.
Unless you’re performing high level surgery or rescuing someone from a burning building, drop everything and listen to this album – you have access to this record on the streaming service of your choice (and we have it as part of our Mexican Summer campaign on vinyl).
Every single track pulses with a will, a singular vision to move your feet to the dance floor, or to the edge of oblivion and look on in wonder. Both sometimes. Rhythmically precise, lyrically head-scratching in the best way possible and with a crispness only the best synth records carry – it is a wonder. It’s precision-tooled operatic edge screams 80s Genesis as well, and that’s not a popularity land grab in 2023: it’s the litmus test for real deal outsider pop music.
Maybe the world isn’t ready for that. But you are.