BY:LARM NIGHT #2 - THE MEGAPHONIC THRIFT IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Remember this band name. In fact, write it down now. The next step up the ladder from A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS, mixing MBV with SONIC YOUTH, but basically a cat caught in a ceiling fan comes close to describing the shear furious and glorious noise that makes up The Megaphonic Thrift from Bergen, Norway. We caught them last night at a jam-packed Rockefeller here in Oslo and after suffering through this band that pretended to be country, these kids came out and dropped the rock gauntlet on everyone that left us shaking. The band gets the Sonic Youth tag quite a bit, and they definitely bow to SY but feel like they have their own spin on things.
I had a chance to sit down with them in the hotel, in between their five performances at By:Larm and ended up liking them even more. What's not to like about a band that pulls their name from GUIDED BY VOICES, and what 'an odd assembly' they truly are. Basically they are built from the ashes of a number of popular Norwegian bands like CASIOKIDS, THE LOW FREQUENCY and SYME and STEREO21, but even being from Bergen, where electro-pop is king (Datarock, Annie, Royksopp), they fly back in the face of that movement with a sound that cries out that the end is near on that front and that good, old fashioned rock and roll is back. Many describe them as shoegaze, but it's not accurate, even if MBV swerves in and out. This is a band that isn't shy and has no problem staring straight ahead, even glaring at you because they have the goods to back it up and more importantly, the songs.
Last night's set was blistering. It was exhilarating. The band that performed before them ended their set trying to get the audience to scream 'power' over and over again, but it was The Megaphonic Thrift that didn't have to say it, they made you feel it. It was a good, old-fashioned ass-whipping is what it was.
The band was signed by A&R guru, Phil Hutcheon of Deadly Records for the UK (he heard them on Myspace and signed them virtually), and they drop their EP, 'Decay Decoy' on due for release in Norway on Hype City in March and internationally in the fall. The vinyl is what we are waiting for, but I know have a copy of the album in my grubby hands and it's brilliant. The US is wide open and the band is heading to Austin for SXSW next month to plant seeds for the future. Look for them to play one of our gigs if we're lucky next month.
I should have some video soon enough that Joe of WOXY/THE FUTURIST took of the show last night to link to later today, as well as highlights from the CASIOKIDS set that followed at Rockefeller. Casiokids by the way were also tremendous! They are a party in a box, a band that plays by no rules and goes from one extreme to another, creating a rave-like atmosphere and they sold me completely once three monkeys appeared on stage with them. Their track, "En Vill Hest" should be an indie hit this year, at least on a planet with good taste.
Joe's video journal and blog post is now up at HERE