LP Review: “Twins” (Ty Segall)

Release Date: 10-9-2012
Label: Drag City

Comments: There are a few ways to examine Twins, which amounts to be Ty Segall’s sixth solo album. One approach would be to first make note that this is the third musical project of 2012 that has the Ty Segall name slapped on it in some form. The other approach would ignore those releases and treat this as the follow-up to 2011’s Goodbye Bread. The former approach seems to work best with Twins. Without having Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse in mind, I am pretty sure several people (whose last Ty listening experience is Goodbye Bread) would be confused with Twins – whoa, Ty became 90% incapacitating guitar riffs? Sure, Goodbye Bread featured some real jams – “You Make The Sun Fry,” “My Head Explodes,” to name two, and 2010’s Melted is full o’ fuzz, but the difference is that Twins does a significantly more noticeable attempt at getting to the heart of the song – fast and with little left to spare. Slaughterhouse did this exceptionally well and it does seem like Ty had some similar ideas in mind in the crafting of Twins. There’s that fuzz pedal and that guitar solo – which we heard about well before this release.

“Thank God For Sinners” is an an affirmation that Ty is going full throttle again. Then there’s the fastest song on the record, “You’re The Doctor,” with increasingly dynamite fuzz, layers of solo, and some drumming that must have reminded Ty of his old days pounding on the “Skin” recording. Fans of older Ty (which is weird to say given the man’s youth) might be even more receptive to “Inside Your Heart,” which has some piano, but some mid-song jamming that is just three words away from Slaughterhouse “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart.” The thing that I love about Ty is that he is not quite recycling old riffs and song structures – he is innovative. Like having Brigid Dawson sing on “The Hill” while a rampage is going on in the background. Twins poppiest moments at this point come on “Would You Be My Love.” The bass-line is killer and the general sludge that probably doesn’t only have me thinking Nirvana. Only on “Ghost” does Ty restrain himself from the kind of electric indulgence that is apparent on the previous five tracks. The result is mixed, but that is hardly a knock. “They Told Me Too” is the opposite sounding – Ty feasts himself on his effects pedals. “Love Fuzz” is another pop oriented tune – it would not be out of place before or after a Black Keys number on the radio. The fuzz comes in the form of a repetitive rhythm section, bolstering the onslaught of the lead near the end. I got to give a shout out to “Handglams” for going the extra distance. Ty had done a similar thing vocally/stylistically with “I Am With You” from Goodbye, but here he really cranks things up and departs from that nicey nicey entrance, adding some good stuff in there that we just haven’t really heard from the man. Acoustic guitar and no drums make up “Gold On The Shore” before Ty finishes things with “There Is No Tomorrow,” a mid-tempo closer.

With Twins, there is not as much cohesion in sound here as on Hair, Slaughterhouse, or maybe even any Ty release post-Lemons. Ty has reached new levels of sonic exploration, though, and it is abundantly clear that he can really do the heavy almost pseudo-metal stuff just as well as the slower tempo output. There are several tunes on Twins that are the most ‘this’ or the most ‘that’ in the grand scheme of Ty Segall. As I have expected on more than one occasion this year, I expect a broader crowd to be turned onto Ty.  It’s not like the stuff he did before 2012 did not lend itself to more ears, but his music is proving he is not a mere ‘garage wunderkind’ – which seems to be a pretty damn awesome thing to be in itself! It seems fairly fitting that NME [9 out of 10] and the like are giving their high praise – maybe they have not seen a dude like this since Alex Turner (who has name dropped Ty as someone whose stuff he is really into). But Turner can’t say he has released three fantastic albums in a seven month span. Nor can too many musicians at all.

Album Review: Ty Segall Band – “Slaughterhouse”


Band:
Ty Segall Band
Label:
In The Red Records
Release:
6/2012

Comments: It would be reasonable for a KLYAM reader at this moment to think to themselves, “damn, they’re all about Ty Segall lately!” We aren’t secretly working for Ty, by the way. It’s just been that what the guy has been doing lately is nothing short of incredible. Slaughterhouse, as many of you may know, is the work of Ty’s live band, which in addition to he, includes Emily Rose Epstein (drums), Mikal Cronin (bass), and Charlie Mootheart (guitar). Technically speaking, this is the band’s first studio release. (There is a 2011 complete band live album called Live In Aisle 5.)

It’s hard to tell exactly how this record was produced. In many ways, it sounds like a ‘everyone ready? 1-2-3-4!!!’ click and record effort. The depth and clarity of each instrument is something else. Getting back to the record itself, I find it fascinating to look at this from a loose concept record whose name tells all angle. You think Slaughterhouse and you don’t think of a sunny afternoon walk in the town common. It’s more like the guitars and all associated effects are no longer producers of music, but are more like intelligently crafted guns. Even Ty’s vocals aren’t at all like the Ty that we’ve heard from the beginning. He’s vicious, carefree, and destructive. He screams and he says ‘fuck yeah’ and ‘fuck this fucking song’! The songs themselves don’t fall far from the creators’ tree. The band is on the same page as Ty and the three of them, well they don’t give a flying fuck either. Some might say well “Fuzz War” is just a loada shit noises and random chords. I would’ve said that two years ago. If you look at this from a macro perspective, it’s almost a perfect ending. We start with “Death” and work backwards to when the mayhem began. (Don’t go back and listen to every song in the reverse order — though that might actually be interesting to some… including myself.) At this point you might be thinking, so what’s the best song on this thing? Well it’s “Wave Goodbye”. I believe [after much deliberation] that “Wave” is the best thing that Segall has done to date. It’s a perfectly crafted song. From start to finish, it’s a monster. You know Ty’s up to no good when he starts off “I went to churches and I went to school, I played by all of your mother’s rules”. That solo never gets old, either. The pounding of Emily Rose Epstein. Mikal and Charlie. Man. “Wave Goodbye” is so supreme that it sort of leaves you wanting to compare the other songs to past Ty efforts. But you will find that you can not simply do that. Even the 1 minute 30 second “Muscle Man” most effortlessly can compete with the fuzziest and loudest there is on Melted. Speaking of loud and fuzzy.

Where to go from here with that. Friggin “That’s The Bag I’m In” slaps “Muscle Man” around with its dick. You can’t help but smile when Ty instructs “extra fast” on the “Diddy Wah Diddy” cover. Ty and Charlie get extra giddy at times on that song and Ty. Funny dude. “I got a car with wheels. Who fuckin’ cares? Fuck this fuckin’ song. DIDDY WAH DIDDY…Wait, rewind it, let’s go again!” This is a tight band.  If we care to backtrack a bit, we can talk about some of the other tracks. “I Bought My Eyes” is insane. Some people who prefer damaging aural attacks might say this is the front-runner of them all. It sort of is. The other contender is “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart.” First. Any coincidence that they’ve been playing “Eyes,” “Wave Goodbye,” and Tell Me” live? They must love them long time too, right? If songs were people (as I often make the comparison), who would win in a 5k running race, “Eyes” or “Tell Me”? If you are a Melted purist, you might be more of “The Tongue” type (though that means you could be an “Imaginary Person” or “Caesar” purist…cover your ears, kids…and this isn’t an insult, those are my favorite songs, too). Or maybe you like yourself some “Oh Mary,” which indeed is a Ty Segall cover. And by Ty Segall cover, I mean one guitar/two drums one-man band 2009 style. This time around, Ty’s vocals sound nearly identical, but the instrumentation is more bopping, controlled, and clearer. Controlled chaos. I’ve seen it listed sometimes as “Mary Ann,” which either is a mistake of journalists or a purposeful re-branding made for an onslaught of first-time amateur Ty listeners. Let’s go to the bottom of Slaughterhouse.

I was about to say this is Ty’s best release. I’m not sure if it is entirely appropriate to say that though. I can’t imagine too many record reviewers have asked what the roles were of John Hassall and Gary Powell in the making of Libertine records. I don’t have any liner notes in front of me (still waiting for the record to arrive in physical form) so I feel bad coming to any conclusions and giving misinformed credits. I know the band has switched up instruments live and they are all capable of doing that kind of thing. Did it happen on Slaughterhouse? Either way, this really is a special record. This is only the beginning of my experience with it. I can’t wait to drop the needle for the first time and hear the first screeches of “Death” and the final barrage of noise on “Fuzz War”. And everything in between. Right now, I’m going to place it ahead of Hair, which I raved about. Like most great rock and roll, I can see this being under-appreciated. Maybe people aren’t on the same wavelength as I am about the capabilities of these four, but it’s really something that ought to be examined. Excellent!

LP Review: “Hair” (Ty Segall and White Fence)

Release Date: 4-24-2012
Label: Drag City

Comments: The way to underground rock and roll stardom can be confusing sometimes. Not to mention that there isn’t much ‘star’ in the kingdom of balls out rock and roll. And nobody really cares. Ty Segall has been well on his way to worldwide recognition for a few years now but it has only been in the past two years that this is becoming more and more evident to people besides his Goner devotees and his West Coast pals and supporters. Another thing worth mentioning early on is that this isn’t solely a Ty affair. So starting off a review like I just did might have been more suitable for Goodbye Bread, but let me continue. Tim Presley of White Fence has been on a colossal pace in terms of releasing new material. Is it only in San Francisco where the self-proclaimed rock and roll warriors roam? Thee Oh Sees, Mikal Cronin, and now these two guys. Releasing stuff at a pace that would cause Jay Reatard to maybe even raise an eyebrow. Collaborations are rampant in the Bay Area as well. You knew that. That leaves us to Hair. Listening to this album from the get-go, it’s hard to not imagine the fun these guys had during this process. They create a pretty distinct setting on this record, which is near the geographic center of Ty’s most psychedelic Goodbye Bread stuff and White Fence’s are-you-sure-this-is-not-an-old-recording-of-’60s psych- stuff. Besides the rush of charged guitar solos and full-on drum bashing, this album isn’t totally different from say the Grateful Dead. Maybe I’m wrong, and there are only a couple examples (“Time”, “The Black Glove/Rag”) of this. Or whatever. “Crybaby” is the most concise example of rock and roll fever that I’ve heard from Segall since Bread. It’s incredible refreshing. There comes a point, too, listening to this record where you just have to wonder: what if rock ‘n roll was as popular as hip-hop and electro-pop? Not to turn this into a Nirvana kind of thing…I wasn’t around then (or at least not in the form of a capable, developed being) so to even ponder something like this is incredibly exciting. And yes I know Ty AND White Fence played on this record. It’s scary the talent that’s out there. Then there will be people who want to themselves Ty, they want their White Fence, their Oh Sees. Those days are over. Is that a bad thing? Ty and Tim have such a handle on things, that they can effortlessly fuck around with the left-right channels to make it sound like you are surfing through a TV set that only plays real RnR stations. An incredible TV set that is. That song is “Scissor People,” by the way. By the end of “Tongues,” all I’m left with is the sentiment of damn. This record is more of a statement than a batch of fun-loving ditties a la Matador Singles ’08 or Arabia Mountain, to name a couple. It’s a statement that things can be subtle and low-key or things can be brash and in your face. It’s all good! The un-expected ending of “Time” is case and point. It seems like most of the greats get around to realizing this — looking at you Jay. Another thing is that Hair probably didn’t take much thought. Not the little organ part at the end of “I Am Not A Game”, not the increasing chaos of the other two guitars. It’s crazy to think. I wasn’t the biggest “I Am Not A Game” fan when it was first released to the general public, but listening to it in context can really change things. “Easy Ryder” is like revisiting Melted, but with a new perspective on lead guitars and the guitar solo construct in general. Is that not amazing? Hair is insane. A KLYAMer would be crazy to not check this out. Hope you speak as highly of this as I do!

Grade: A/A+

“Easy Ryder”

LP Review: Arabia Mountain [2011]

Band: Black Lips
Release: 6/2011
Label: Vice

Part Two: HERE
Part Three: HERE

A1. “Family Tree” – A++
A2. “Modern Art” – A++
A3. “Spidey’s Curse” – A++
A4. “Mad Dog” – A++
A5. “Mr. Driver” – A++
A6. “Bicentennial Man” – A+
A7. “Go Out and Get It” – A-
A8. “Raw Meat” – A+
B1. “Bone Marrow” – A
B2. “The Lie” – A
B3. “Time” – A
B4. “Dumpster Dive” – A
B5. “New Direction” – A+
B6. “Noc-A-Homa” – A+
B7. “Don’t Mess Up My Baby” – A++
B8. “You Keep On Running” – B+

Grade: A (96)