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Music

California Sounds: Mega Bog’s curious folk rock, an SFV Acid trip and Automatic’s dance punk

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Erin Birgy, who performs as Mega Bog.
(Indigo Sparke)

Mega Bog, “Dolphine” (Paradise of Bachelors). Erin Birgy, who performs as Mega Bog, relocated to Los Angeles about a year ago, and her new record on the respected folk-rock label Paradise of Bachelors seems to revel in that transition. The Glendale-based artist eases into the 37-minute album with a tangle of electric guitar notes and cascading chimes. Then it all locks into place, and an intricately structured, fully formed jazz-folk-rock song comes into view.

A sci-fi concept album (wait, come back!), “Dolphine” was inspired by a myth, according to release notes, that “as humankind evolved from sea creatures, some individuals chose not to leave the water and walk the earth but, rather, to stay in the ocean and explore the darkness as dolphins.”

Luckily, there are no dolphin screeches on any of the 11 songs. Rather, Birgy harnesses her voice, a breathy, elastic instrument that she flexes in myriad ways, in service of songs in which no two measures are alike. Like Joni Mitchell, Caetano Veloso or Tim Buckley, she phrases her lines with the ear of an actor, conveying emotional info and drama with each oblong couplet.

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SFV Acid, “WestField Topanga” video (Gustavtime). Those who don’t mind falling into a YouTube wormhole would be advised to carve out a few hours before checking out the new video by the synth-driven electro artist and illustrator Zane Reynolds, who performs as SFV Acid.

The clip was directed by a video artist, Gustavtime, who employs train simulation software to create mesmerizing fictional incidents and catastrophes such as “Amtrak Collision! Excavator Destroyed!,” “Train on Fire! Turbo Blows Fire!” and “Super Trains! Extreme Speed!” For this music video, a Metrolink train — Line 818 — has been renamed Acidlink, painted yellow and tagged by a SFV Acid-repping graffiti artist.

We watch as two men board different cars. The train departs out of Union Station, rolls slowly north along the L.A. River until the downtown skyline vanishes. All is well in the simulation as SFV Acid’s new track scores the ride, which turns suburban before the buildings give way to a barren brown landscape. An uptempo, highly synthetic rhythm drives the movement, while a plonked-out keyboard melody adds fuel.

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Then the fire starts. How, no one knows, but as the locomotive pushes into high gear, the rear few cars have become enveloped in flames. The simulation has turned serious. What of the two men on the train? Have they jumped off? Are they trying to put out the fire? No answers are given. We watch as the flaming train derails, an event that receives no reaction in the music, which still dances along joyously.

Automatic, “Calling It” video (Stones Throw). The post-punk trio are grinding it out at their day job in their first video as part of the Stones Throw Records roster. As the band delivers a rhythm-heavy beat suggestive of dance-punk bands Gang of Four, the Rapture and Delta 5, the three musicians (Izzy Glaudini, synths, vocals; Lola Dompé, drums, vocals; and Halle Saxon, bass, vocals) are shown forging devices out of aluminum in the shadow of LAX.

Another scene finds them in the executive offices during a meeting on (of course) aluminum alloy density, toasting with champagne and smoking a joint. The plot line is a head-scratcher, for sure. It’s compounded by the closing scene, which features a box in the middle of a street, handfuls of diamonds and a forged aluminum figurine. What? Who knows, but the band might provide answers during its month-long Monday residency at the Echo in Echo Park, which will occur across August.

For tips, records, snapshots and stories on Los Angeles music culture, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter and Instagram: @liledit. Email: randall.roberts@latimes.com.


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