Ty Segall: Self Titled (Drag City)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This just reached out and grabbed me. Some very inventive and beautiful music right here. To the cold listener, I would say part early electric Grateful Dead and part Beatles on Quaaludes. Ty Segall can take sounds and elements that seem to be diametrically opposed, put them together, and he creates something totally gorgeous. Like loud and soft, fast and slow, and low and high. Segall has the ability to fuse these products together to create something better, stronger, faster. 

This is an expression of art, along with being a great recording. The mixing and production work on this album are superb. It was produced by Steve Albini, who produced every noise band going back to the mid 80s. Definitely uses some technology, but just enough to enhance. It does not detract from the music in any way.  I can tell I am going to be addicted to this one for a good long time. The creativity and ingenuity is everywhere. It is effervescing. 
I am currently listening to Take Care (To Comb Your Hair) (Track 9) and about half way in, Ty breaks into a total Rush orgy. With scales and complex guitar riffs. Once you listen, it will all be crystal clear. And then comes the noise. Oh, the glorious noise! A barrage of heavy, loud, over the top guitar licks that should sound terrifying. And those items on their own, would be. But Ty has taken these and made something special out of three cacophonous parts. 
Another song that thrives on contrasts is Break a Guitar (Track 1). It’s very heavy at first blush, but everything is in balance which tempers the storm a bit. Definitely some early 70’s British metal influence. I could envision this being a Deep Purple or Black Sabbath song. Alas, it is Ty Segal. And he is carrying the torch for experimentation in music and pushing it forward. And it’s a good thing, too. 
Freedom (Track 2) is a masterpiece in the making. The slightly different backing vocals are the star of this show. And so is the noise. Yes noise. Too much and you destroy the song. Not enough, and you leave people wanting more. Just right, and you hit the spot that makes the dog’s leg go back and forth. The sweet spot. Noise on Freedom has landed squarely on the sweet spot. Ty can go from the most dissonant noise to absolutely beautiful melodies that would make the best songwriters break their pencils. It’s all in the juxtaposition, my friends.
Ok, I admit it, this ain’t exactly country. But what this is – is an historical musical marker. I truly believe this self titled album with be considered one of those uber influential albums for the next generation and beyond. It is hard to make something ground breaking and innovative and still be highly listenable and infectious. Ty did it. Trust but verify. Do your own QA testing. 
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