Ty Segall: Lemons LP
— Price: 199 SEK
"Ty Segall's self-titled debut was released last year on Castle Face Records, the label run by Jon Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees. His follow-up, Lemons, is out just a few months later on Memphis-based Goner Records, run by the Oblivians' Eric Friedl. Pretend his next one is out on Siltbreeze and it's not hard to triangulate Segall's sound. His short, sharp songs peal out of the garage without raising the doors, sending 1960s rock riffs crashing through splintered, smart-ass lo-fi buzz. After spending time in San Francisco's the Traditional Fools, Segall went way solo, playing early shows all by himself: Alone on stage, he strummed a beat-up guitar, howled his lyrics, and worked a kickdrum with a tambourine duct-taped to it. He has recently started playing with a band, but still believes that all a song really needs is whatever one person can strike, strum, sing, or shake.
This no-fuss, no-frills DIY philosophy defines both of his albums, but especially the rough-and-tumble Ty Segall. It actually sounds like the product of one man, all the instruments he could carry, and an hour's worth of studio time. It kicks off with the guitar and tambourine strut of "Go Home", with Segall's vocals drenched in harsh reverb that doesn't conceal but enhances the song's concise melodies. He's enamored with 60s pop rhythms, so you could conceivably do the Shag or the Mashed Potato to "The Drag" or "So Alone". But his is a limited, limiting set-up, and at times his run-throughs sound obligatory. He apes Jon Spencer aping Elvis Presley on "Pretty Baby (You're So Ugly)", saving the song only with a breakneck distortion chorus. Ultimately, Ty Segall sounds like a test run, a document of an artist discovering what all he can do by himself, which makes moments like the whistled outro on "Watching You", so reminiscent of Sergio Leone, all the more endearing.
Musically and chronologically, Ty Segall and Lemons make a good pair, not only because together they add up to about 50 minutes, but because the latter builds confidently on the experiments of the former. Segall coaxes a greater range of sounds from his set-up, touching on a bit of psychedelic country on "Rusted Dust", frenzied gutter-punk fury on "Johnny", and hallucinatory desert rock on the Captain Beefheart cover "Drop Out Boogie". "In Your Car" stomps with the brat-menace of Black Lips, and the instrumental "Untitled #2" builds its surf rock from the ground up, establishing a fast rhythm section of rimshots and acoustic strums before introducing the barreling lead guitar and wiping out spectacularly at the end. Buffed to a relative shine, these songs are leaner, more frenetic, and simply more imaginative.
With this one-two punch, Segall enters a lo-fi field crowded with artists mining similar influences for inspiration and making similarly compact noise. What distinguishes him from his peers, however, is his ability to instill his songs with a palpable creative zeal, as if the final recordings were less important than the process of performing them. All of his noble goals of prolificacy and spontaneity would be meaningless if his energy and excitement didn't cut through the noise loud and clear."
— Stephen M. Deusner, July 17, 200, Pitchfork
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- February 2, 2011
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