Publicists say it all the time: "This album will melt your face off." "This album rocks so hard it will blow your mind with awesome." Sometimes these statements are true; sometimes they are a little less than accurate. My guess is, when Ty Segalls' publicists were selling his 2010 breakout album Melted, they told the world, "This record sounds like trying to cage a rabid hyena in a glass box, but it breaks out anyway, gargles the glass for fun, and then howls at the top of its lungs like it was shot in the leg." Powerful image -- sure, but is it the truth? -- absolutely.
His latest effort, Goodbye Bread (out now on Drag City), features the rocker in a much more fuzzed out mood -- favoring a sonic slow burn instead of the assault of Melted. But just because the musical impact is less aggressive does not mean it is any less effective. Taking a more concerted effort to focus on songwriting this time around, the tracks on Goodbye Bread feel older and wiser (see, "I Am With You", "Fine"), more deliberate and careful; with a concentration on chord progressions, timing and lyrics. This is a more focused Ty Segall. One who is growing his musical prowess, but maintaining the guttural psych-pop sensibility that made him a standout in the first place.
Yet to understand Segall is to see him perform in all of his sweaty glory -- which might sound contrived, but it truly is the only way to feel his epic sonic assault. The July 2nd's show at The Independent may have been a few weeks ago, but its impact cannot be forgotten. Watching him wander around the venue before hitting the stage, Segall is quiet, languid, and easily blends in with the rest of the skinny t-shirt-wearing crowd. But just like Beyonce's alter ego Sasha Fierce (yes, I said it...), it is as if Segall flips a switch and becomes a completely different person once he hits the stage (think Animal from the Muppets, but blonder). It is a joy to watch Segall's inability to contain himself. Even when he tackles slower songs like title track "Goodbye Bread" and low-rider "I Can't Feel It", the man cannot help but crank it to 11. It is as if he is playing a stream-of-consciousness set list, and has to get it all out before his fingers explode.
It is infectious to watch a musician get this excited about their music, and it makes Segall more contagious and accessible than the sound might otherwise allow. For those who have written Ty Segall off as just another cog in the Bay Area Music Rival machine, I say get off your indie pedestal and take a harder listen. This kid is for real, he is here to stay, and he will most definitely melt your face off one extreme riffage at a time.
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