Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ty Segall - Goodbye Bread on Drag City Records

The bloodhound on the cover of Ty Segall’s latest full length, Goodbye Bread on Drag City could be something of a metaphor for the Bay area artist; the result of highly focused breeding with a single trait in mind, smell. It’s a bit of a stretch probably... does that mean then that Melted has something to do with deformed mannequins? Burn victims? I doubt it, but there is something to the idea to me about Ty being as determined to examine, experiment and rework his guitar sound as that freakishly wrinkly breed. His songwriting is quickly evolving, the number of singles and full length releases the last five years, counting only the work done under his own name is impressive by anyone’s standards, and with every release, the gritty, blues distortion is punched up with fast surf and 60’s garage rock tempo’s in unique ways. The stabs in different directions could be enough to provide paths for multiple bands to explore, but Ty is content to completely decimate a line of thought and move on.
The roots of Ty’s early work might have been recorded underneath a low-fi, over-modulated dense fuzz, but Goodbye Bread has the shiny gleaming production of something more classic, not that those elements don’t show up in different ways, the tortured squealing guitar sound is still there, and in this White-era Beatles reverb context it’s even more effective, it isn’t ever a progressive style pat on the back, it naturally settles into a comfortable crevice, reminding me of that single note solo on “Cinnamon Girl”. Ty’s guitar playing has the same economy and expression in an incredibly minimal melody, that’s his constant trick, to be a hell of a guitar player, and never let you know it.
Overall, Goodbye Bread is more laid back then the overwhelming bashing over the head, tom tom rhythm’s of previous records, but those raw influences and inspired songwriting has just taken a different form.
Take the sentiment of “Comfortable Home (A True Story)”, like “My Girls” from Animal Collective, Ty tackles the very responsible attitude towards buying a house, all done in typical stomping rhythm, and damaged solo with a surprising amount of vocal harmony, the track eventually devolving in breaking down the very structure itself. He’s also exploring combining this stripped down riffing with a drawn out psyche sound with a majority of tracks coming in at over four minutes. “I Am With You” even finds Ty playing a shimmery acoustic guitar, a stream of consciousness list of abstract things he’s sick of, until the song takes an optimistic turn towards appreciating the simple things. A heavy, stumbling crunch guitar gets down into the thick of truly mind expanding freakout. “You Make The Sun Fry” maybe the best example of both Ty’s traditional garage songwriting ability and his latest direction, heavy reverb vocal over a bluesy stuttered scale which launches into epic airy psychedelic heights. An album which is going to be a solid entry point for new fans and satisfying the ones who still cherish the 'Cents' single as a touchstone of dirty garage pop.

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