You can't always--and shouldn't always--judge an artist (or anyone, really) by the company they keep. Some people, as talented and charismatic as they may be, have lousy taste in friends. Or they may see something in them the rest of us can't.
In the case of Ty Segall, an associate of San Francisco's venerable
Thee Oh Sees, I feared his work might not measure up to that of
John Dwyer, etc., who've been on a roll for a few years now (they
put on a great show, too), but his third record holds its own.
Naturally, a couple of Thee Oh Sees drop by to land a hand.
That's Dwyer playing the flute on "Caesar" and Jigmae Baer
drumming on "Mrs.," but Segall's otherwise on his own.
Granted, he isn't doing anything radically different here; he's
just doing it exceptionally well. Melted rocks as hard as any
death-metal opus, except the tunes are catchy in a glam-bub-
blegum way and his ax-work prioritizes the distortion of VU
over the speed of Slayer. Plus, Segall has a classic garage-
pop croon (the Cookie Monster has nothing to fear).
A sure-fire contender for record of the year.
Click here for my review of Thee Oh
Sees' Help and here for Sucks Blood.
Eastern Conference Champions,
Santa Fe, Rockhampton Records
Other writers have cited Radiohead and Band of Horses,
but this Bucks County, PA-to-Los Angeles, CA trio marks
one of many to trod in footsteps left by Wilco before them.
Granted, singer Joshua Ostrander isn't imitating Jeff Tweedy,
except possibly on the whispery "12345," and his band mates,
Greg Lyons and Melissa Dougherty, might not be trying to emu-
late the Bellville band, but that's who they bring to mind in their
blend of folk-pop and feedback (Ostrander sounds even less like
Thom Yorke and Ben Bridwell). Overall: solid alt-country stuff.
Click here for "Bloody Bells" (M. Zero remix).
Tucker Jameson & the Hot Mugs, Does
It Make You Feel Good?, self-released
She's a gift I never owned.
-- "Better Off Alone"
Though no one uses the phrase anymore, Tucker Jameson
& the Hot Mugs serve up what used to be called pub rock. It's
basically a modern take on the bar band sound--a little crunch,
a little soul--like the Greg Kihn Band in their Beserkley days.
The music is fine, but the lyrics can be off-putting. In "Char-
lotte," Jameson asks the title character not to "be a bitch." In
"Will She Love Me?" he wonders, "Will she love or screw me like
the last one?" When will these ladies leave the poor guy alone?
Click here for my review of Or Something in Between...
National Rifle, Vanity Press, self-released [8/31/10]
One of four EPs to materialize in recent years, Vanity Press pre-
sents five songs of sprightly pop-rock with subtle funk touches.
The National Rifle comes close to new new wave, but they
aren't quite quirky enough to qualify. Still, the songs exhibit
a certain 1980s-style buoyancy, even if band members
Hugh, Jeremiah, Lynna, and Buddy made their earth-
ly debut on the cusp of that dayglo decade.
Click here for "She's a Waste."
Endnote: For more information about Eastern Con-
ference Champions, please click here or here; for
the National Rifle, here. Image From SF Weekly.