Album Review: Ty Segall – Manipulator

Ty Segall is one of the most renowned names in rock n roll from recent years, and with good reason. The dude knows exactly how to make his guitar crunch and shred with the same ferocity as being run over by a stampede of rhinoceros (rhinoceroses?). He has the same ability to turn a guitar into a chomping trash compactor as Jimmy Page, and he hurls it into the pop sensibilities of Husker Du and The Replacements. It’s music to be thrown against a brick wall over and over again.

Over the years, Ty Segall has shifted from the more mucky Cramps-like recordings that were on ‘Lemons’, ‘Melted’ and ‘Goodbye Bread’, and into cleaner sounding recordings, with ‘Manipulator’ falling into possibly the squeakiest he’s been. But, it doesn’t stop him from absolutely shredding. After the calm and collected Segall that was unveiled on ‘Sleeper’, it’s thankful that he’s gone back to making songs that would deafen a firework engineer.

The album is packed with songs so loud, they’d un-deafen Pete Townshend. There’s ‘The Faker’, a track so chugging and large, it’s like a train that’s piloted by Creedence Clearwater Revival. There’s the spindly and slimey “The Crawler”, which is like a spider that learned how to tied a distorter pedal to each of it’s limbs and jumped. “Susie Thumb” has a similar effect of plunging the listener headlong into a rabbit hole about how much of a shallow idiot Susie is, all whilst loaded with poltergeist-raising riffs.

Continuing along, “Feel” manages to retain a super creepy, shlock horror, (almost) Black Sabbath vibe , with a blood-soaked guitar stabbing solos into our hearts, time and time again. Seriously, that solo is straight from a witch’s cauldron, made from the blood of a serial killer’s bat, and the most toxic poisons of the Amazon. It’s an exotic thing that can only be found in the darkest corners of the world. And “Connection Man” is like an interstellar rock hit, like something two bong-smoking aliens would traipse around the galaxy to when they couldn’t find their KISS cassette tapes.

The songs are good, there’s no doubt about that. However, when the album is centrally built around 2-3 minute goldmines, and said album goes for a full 58 minutes, with 17 tracks in total,  it becomes slightly exhausting to listen to so many high-modal thrashers. What made some of the older Ty Segall material so effective was because the albums were short, and sharp, and that the shitty production, that made it seem like the songs had built in tape hiss, gave a little humanising and ordinary quality that helped pace the record out. It feels like Ty Segall could’ve separated this record into two searing records, and maintained the punch without knocking out the listener.

However, when the only real complaint about a record is that the artist in question has gotten better equipment and actually has a bit too much good material, then the album in question can’t be bad. ‘Manipulator’ is still a choke-slam, and has got you gagging for air faster than a rollercoaster ride going at light speed whilst blasting an audiobook of 50 Shades of Grey. Boom! Ther’s a fucktonne of dynamite in this record, and it’ll keep blowing your fingers right off until you physically can’t put the record on anymore.

‘Manipulator’ is out on Spunk Records right now, AND Ty Segall is fucking coming to Sydney. He’s gonna be at Oxford Art Factory, on Wednesday 17 December. Why haven’t you clicked this link to buy tickets yet?

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Video: Purling Hiss-Mary Bumble Bee

Whoooooaaaah…the title says it’s Purling Hiss…but this band sounds nothing like the face-shredding Purling Hiss that I know. First The Men, now these dudes…crazy garage bands are turning into chiller dudes all of a sudden. Not that it’s a totally bad thing. It’s not like we’re exactly short of bands that have a destructive output similar to a T-Rex eating out the average citizen, and as long as Purling Hiss maintain the psychedelic, slightly-warped standard of ‘Mary Bumble Bee’, then I”m sure we’ll do okay. But please Purling Hiss, feel free to return to the noisy roots that sound like a chainsaw having sex with several acres of feedback. I don’t think anyone would mind that.

Album Review: Ty Segall-Sleeper

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A word of warning: there is no way that I can write this without some element of bias. I love Ty Segall more than I love Star Wars, and I fucking love Star Wars. Ty Segall represents a shining hope in a music industry polluted with auto tune and lyrics about bitches. Ty Segall remedies this all with consistently amazing albums. He is one of my favourite modern artists for a reason. Ty Segall doesn’t just make brilliant music at a prolific rate; every album shows a new direction. You can bet your gallstone bladder that when there’s a new Ty Segall album on the horizon, it’s going to sound different to the last one. And it’s going to sound better than the Death Star blowing up. ‘Sleeper’ proves this beyond a reasonable doubt.

So, if ‘Melted’ was the garage rockers zeitgeist, ‘Goodbye Bread’ uncovered lo-fi at the archeologist dig, and ‘Twins’ was the 70’s pysch rockers pulverisation of the senses, what could ‘Sleeper’ be? Well, its a psychedelic-folk number that turns into the gift that just keeps giving. Don’t expect to hear much of the usual Ty Segall guitar romp though; besides the bombastic sliding ending of ‘The Man Man‘, the whole album is deeply immersed in the murky side of folk music. But, before, you get all up in arms, deriding Ty Segall as a blasphemous hippie pig, take a listen for yourself, and uncover the inner Byrds fan that’s been living inside of you this whole time. There was no way I could have made that sentence creepier.

From the beginning of the album, Ty Segall wraps you in his warm guitar embrace, warbled vocals and slackened guitar resonating with everyone who’s keen to open their mind to some amazing music. Opener ‘Sleeper’, is both epic and subdued at the same time; violins lament in the back of the mix, whilst formidable chords echo through the listeners mind-cells. Ty’s voice, dare I say it, actually sounds good, and after listening to his strung out vocals religiously for the past six or so albums, this comes as both a shock and a relief.  Meanwhile, on the Western Front (otherwise known as Third Track Land) ‘Crazy’ is the traditional Ty Segall track, with a chorus of ‘he’s here, he’s still here, though she’s crazy!’, something that would slide easily next to ‘The Drag’ or ‘Ceasar’ as a classic Ty track-only, this is done in a quiet but equally effective way as if Ty had shouted the whole thing over a warped squeal.

The album strikes a deadly balance between these two types of tracks, the heroic nonchalance of acoustic balladry and unleashed super happy fun times. After a John Wayne funeral scene track entitled ‘She Don’t Care’ that could make Johnny Cash shed a tear, and the Juarez-inspired ‘Come Outside’, Ty Segall follows up with a balls to the wall (or at least as balls to the wall as pysch-folk can get) mind melting and layered-vocal mess ‘6th Street’, and a poker-playing, heel-clicking, tobacco-swindling ‘Sweet CC’. The keeling nature of the album would see any less-experienced artist lose their shit in the balancing act, but Ty Segall has perfected it. He can switch moods at the flick of a switch, with 100% less cliche than that idiom warrants.

By the end of ‘Sleeper’, Ty Segall has taken the listener on a journey, without even realising it. After playing that opening track, a mere 36 minutes later, the listener will find themselves enraptured, not even realising how their emotions and thought processes have been subtly warped by the fantastic music they have listened to. This isn’t something to be scoffed at, no this is true musical genius on display. Like The Who and The Rolling Stones, Ty Segall has crafted a work of art, undeniable in its genius. ‘Sleeper’ is not just the next in Ty Segall’s musical triumphs; its a majestic odyssey of  the pysch-folk genre within itself, a mind blowing achievement beyond words.

‘Sleeper’ came out the other day on Drag City and Spunk Records, two of the best labels in the world. You should consider getting it if, you know, have any sort of human decency in the world, and your soul is not patrolled by Satan. Buy the record here for the price of two Tooheys longnecks. 

Video: Sic Alps-She’s On Top

San Fran pyscopaths and Ty Segall collaborators hav put out the video for the title track of their recent 12″ long player ‘She’s On Top’. It details some sort of destructive romance, and features a delectable guitar lick, a flaming ride on a subway through the bad part of town. It’s grungey, and the video features undeliberate video footage of something that looks like scenes from an unaired MTV series about zombies, like Aeon Flux meets Zombieland.