Since 2010, Ty Segall has consistently released love letters to fuzz pedals and ’70s rock. The prolific output is sometimes too lo-fi (Melted) or too sleepy (Sleeper, sorry for the pun), but on his new album Manipulator, released this Tuesday, Segall has an undeniable swagger.
The West Coast rocker wears his influences on his sleeve. You can hear in his tunes how he still digs on The Beach Boys, T. Rex, Jefferson Airplane and Black Sabbath. Segall writes psychedelic songs layered with piercing distortion and tremolo-addled guitar solos that the cool kids from Dazed and Confused would eat up in a second.
But, what’s refreshing about Segall is that it’s never felt like he’s had an agenda. When I listen to Jack White or The Black Keys, as talented as those guys are, their songs can feel over-produced and under-sincere. While they’ve attained rock god status, here’s Segall, this California punk making records that wouldn’t sound out of place next to Paranoid or Electric Warrior, and at such a rapid pace.
While most contemporary bands force and market this cool, Segall is probably too concerned with recording his next three albums to care about what rock ‘n’ roll mystique means. He’s the leader of the pack of bands like White Fence, Mikal Cronin and Fuzz, all of whom save rock from the stale nü-grunge sounds time and time again.
Until now, Segall has given listeners shots of brilliance and a look at one side of his personality. With his band on Slaughterhouse, he went into thrash territory. On Twins and Goodbye Bread, he was still honing his craft, showing off his love of psychedelic rock. With so many records under his belt, there was a bit of a “too much of a good thing” vibe. But given the state of popular music right now and how stale the majority of it sounds, Manipulator has this ballsy energy that crushes everything in its path. And when Segall is at a loss for words, he lets his guitar do the talking.
His new album solidifies what we were all thinking when he first shot onto the scene. Segall is the garage rock king. Not Jack White. Not The Black Keys. Not the bands that keep churning out material to make you think 2004 wasn’t a fluke. It’s all Segall’s, and he’ll be here for a while.
Lafayette punk-rockers The Its perform at Spanish Moon Saturday as part of the Baton Rouge Arm Wrestling Ladies’ Headbangers Brawl. Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $8. Proceeds benefit Girls Rock Camp Baton Rouge. RSVP and get more information.
Song of the week
Kind Cousin’s “Gum Wrapper Rings”
Until now, Allison Bohl DeHart has earned musical marks in bands such as T-kette and Carbon Poppies as well as singing Harry Nilsson covers with Brass Bed. Under the moniker Kind Cousin, Bohl DeHart is focusing on her own tunes with the help of recording engineer/wizard Aaron Thomas and her husband, Brass Bed drummer Peter DeHart. If the rest of her album sounds anything like this first single, we can expect more sugary sweet beauty this September.
Album of the week
Plush Claw’s self-titled debut
James Van Way resides in Lafayette, where he has steadily put out alt-rock records with bands such as Frames of Reference and Markings. In his new project, Plush Claw, the focus shifts to Van Way’s lonely observations and reverb-tinged sounds. On “Blank Fortune,” he sings, “maybe I stayed too long.” Once the album is done, you’ll wish he stuck around a little while longer. This is a confident long player from a hidden talent who isn’t concerned with the musical history that surrounds his town, but crafting something along the lines of Yo La Tengo, The National and a bit of Sonic Youth thrown in for good measure. It’s a beautiful departure from the Cajun and zydeco sounds one might expect 40 miles west.