Friday, July 29, 2011

Transcendent Panache
Ty Segall,
Drag City

rock's past transcends its historical baggage with more panache than others.
--Dave Segal, The Stranger ("Platform Boots on the Beach")

If I say I love Goodbye Bread, and I do, then I'll give the
impression I think it's great, when it's closer to very good.

If I had never heard Melted, my favorite record of 2010, I
would probably be more forgiving, but Segall's previous effort
was such a thoroughly transcendent guitar-rock extravaganza
that there's no way he could possibly top it. And so he hasn't,
but it's still a Ty Segall production through and through.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Click here for my review of Melted.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

I fell for the Bay Area musician's signature sound on Melt-
, follow-up to 2009's Lemons, and it permeates Good-
bye Bread
, starting with that Barrett meets Bolan voice.

If anything, he gives his finest vocal performance to date on the
title track, which combines a gentle croon with a lovely falsetto,
and yet he never recalls one of those super-sensitive indie-rock
guys like Iron & Wine's Sam Beam or Bon Iver's Justin Vernon.

Not that those gentleman "can't" sing, but Segall is coming from a
more ragged, raw-boned perspective; it's a whole different thing.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

She said she wants to buy a couch...she wants a comfortable home.
-- "Comfortable Home (A True Story)"

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

And it has nothing to do with a lack of sensitivity on his part. Rath-
er, navel-gazing isn't part of Segall's arsenal, and that can lead to
a somewhat messier state of affairs. If Goodbye Bread packs
as much punch as Melted (I haven't heard Lemons), the hooks
aren't as sticky. And if Segall isn't in love, he's certainly got ro-
mance on his mind, which means it's also more introspective.

As noted in this post, I also hadn't noticed until Segall's latest
album and tour: at times, he looks and sounds a lot like Kurt
Cobain (and there's always been a John Lennon strain run-
ning through his music). Take "Comfortable Home," for in-
stance, which plays like a companion to Nirvana's "Breed,"
i.e. "We don't have to breed. We can plant a house, we can
build a tree. I don't even care. We could have all three."

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

You could go and meet my Mom. We could sit there all day long.
-- "You Make the Sun Fry"

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Just as Cobain dreamed about a cozy domestic situation, Se-
gall does the same. (May he have better luck in that regard.)

Some of the other lyrics can be pretty facile and/or nonsen-
sical, i.e. "We could eat the tasty pieces of the peaches on the
beaches"--been listening to the Stranglers much?--and "See
you next time on the Reading Rainbow," but what the heck.

Ty Segall isn't here to teach you how to live your life; he's
here to entertain. At that: He succeeds spectacularly.

Endnote: Ty Segall plays the Crocodile tonight, 7/29/11,
with Idle Times. Doors open at 8pm. Image from L.A. Record.

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