I caught some buzz about Ty Segall (1987 – ) before his most recent release, Manipulator (2014), including a brief piece in GQ. When I saw Sleeper (2013) at the library, I listened to all his albums there and checked out the rest on Spotify. Segall has had a prolific musical catalog for only being 28. He has released seven solo studio albums and dozens of EPs and singles. Segall has also recorded with seven other bands, including his Ty Segall Band.
What sets Segall’s fifth solo album, Twins (2012) apart is the heavy guitars throughout – it’s much more rocking. Though it came at the same years as his Band’s album, the brutal Slaughterhouse, Twins strikes an even balance between heavy and accessible. Segall’s music seems steeped in 60’s pop rock, but these songs have a 90’s alternative vibe with lots of grunge and even shoegazer moments. He speeds up folk and adds distortion; he slows down punk and adds vocal harmony.
The guitars sound straight out of the garage, with face-melting riffs and feedback. Almost every song has a simple chord-strumming structure that lets the effects and solos take the spotlight. Only “Handglams” has a picking pattern (followed by a walloping guitar riff), and only “Gold on the Shore” has an acoustic guitar. The rest have heavy guitar stacked on heavy guitar. Solos fly loose at pretty regular intervals — during the bridge, after choruses and sometimes at the beginning and end. Many songs contain multiple solos, sometimes even two at a time.
His vocals take the edge off the hard hitting rock, countering its abrasive noise. The melodies sound rooted in early rock and roll and folk. Frequent harmonies sweeten the deal — “The Hill” even has a pair of female backing vocals. Segall can reach some pretty high notes himself in “Would You be My Love,” “They Told Me Too,” and “Love Fuzz.” His other albums maintain that vocal sensibility, but few match the guitar heroics.
Which Ty Segall album is your favorite?
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