I mean, seriously Ty Segall. We get it.
You’re a rising badass star musician laying down killer riff after killer riff, leaving smoking craters of rock destruction in your wake at show after show. You’ve cast a wicked, twisted shadow over the rest of the indie music world by making uncompromisingly powerful music that is both heavy and fun, anthemic yet antisocial. You showed you could crank out vintage flower power with White Fence on the release of Hair, only to combine with Mikal Cronin to form the Ty Segall Band, unleashing sonic hellfire and deep space dread on the world with Slaughterhouse, the sludgiest indie-rock release of the year. And while the world is still trying to digest those two disparate gems, you whip out Twins, your sixth solo studio album, just to mindfuck us all.
Are you trying to make us feel inferior, Ty? Because it sure feels like it. Most people would be happy to just release ONE good album a year. The Shins released Port of Morrow earlier this year…you don’t see them racing to put out a new album before the year is over. Nope, they’re milking it for all it’s worth. Same with Beach House. What about Cloud Nothings? They dropped one of the best albums of the year on us already. Are they slacking by not having another great album already?
But here’s upstart Ty Segall, going and releasing three amazing albums in one year. Don’t you have an Xbox, Ty? Aren’t there about five thousand ladies trying to have your rock messiah child? Where do you find the time to crank out enough quality music to fill three albums? Nickleback‘s had a decade or so, and they’re still trying to put out one good album. Here you go, rubbing three great releases in their faces. Who does that?
Ty Segall does. Ty, and Guided By Voices. The too fun to ever be old Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices are the only indie band this year matching Ty Segall album for album. While Ty released Hair, Slaughterhouse and now Twins, GBV released Let’s Go Eat The Factory, Class Clown Spots A UFO, and the yet-to-be-released The Bears For Lunch. Are the two related somehow? Are Robert Pollard and Ty Segall taking control of the indie market by releasing three times as much material as everyone else? Why so much so fast?
It’s hard to say. So many bands suffer from “first album syndrome”: They put all their best songs on their first album, so that when it comes time for the second album, they’re already out of things to say, and the album is crap compared to their debut. The world is littered with bands that could never relive the promise of their first release. Other folks (Rick James comes to mind) spread their hits out over many albums, surrounding a couple of real hits with filler, skits and b-sides.
Then there are folks like Guided By Voices and Ty Segall, releasing three quality albums in one calendar year. In Guided By Voices’s case, they seem to be making up for lost time. GBV’s last studio album was Half Smiles of the Decomposed way back in 2004. Considering how many songs Robert Pollard writes, it’s easy to go with the idea that Bob had three albums worth of GBV songs stored up, and said “Screw it, we’re soft rock renegades. I’ve got three albums worth of stuff ready to go, let’s just release it all!”
For Ty Segall, the answer is harder to speculate. Just last year, Segall dropped Goodbye Bread on the world, an amazing collection of songs that put the musical world on notice. But that wasn’t enough for the San Fran sensation. Somehow, he had time to follow that great release up with three excellent albums. How can he be so prolific? Perhaps Ty Segall is a vampire who never sleeps, retreating to dark basements during the light of day to write wild music on the walls in arcane runes, venturing out at night to play shows and feed on the blood of mortals and groupies. Maybe he is more machine than man, a cybernetic hu-man from the future capable of making millions of micro computations a second, sent back in time to recalibrate our sensibilities and save the music industry from itself. Or perhaps he’s just an awesome guy who loves making music, has a head full of great songs just waiting to get out, and wants to share them with the rest of the world as soon as they’re ready.
However he does it (I’m betting he’s a cyborg), Ty Segall don’t make no trash. Thrash, maybe. But not trash. Twins is a fantastic album, top to bottom. The album feels warm, genuine, loose. If it was put in between Hair and Slaughterhouse, it would probably sit closer to Hair, but not by much.
Twins starts out with “Thank God For The Sinners,” a straightforward classic churn that gets you in the right frame of mind. Then there’s “You’re the Doctor,” track 2 and one of the standout tracks where Ty unleashes the full force of his thunderous wrath. His guitar becomes living lightning, an electric buzzsaw ripping through the track completely in just under two minutes. Ty’s vocals match the action perfectly in that rock ‘n’ roll way where you’re not exactly sure what he’s saying the whole time, but he’s saying it in the perfect way, and with properly calibrated feeling.
“Inside Your Heart” gallops across your face, with lyrics that remind me of recently rewatched classic film, “Aliens.” The first line of the song: “Oh doctor would you tell me, please? / Is it living inside of me?” starts to give the album a bit of a narrative feel, like the songs share some connection. This track has a great beat, only to get melted as Ty cranks his rockitude to eleven about two minutes in. He cups it in his hands afterward as a chorus, only to be poured out into fuzzy distortion in the end.
“The Hill” features Brigid from the Thee Oh Sees, who makes the song remind me of Grass Widow somehow, but still living in Segall’s universe. Not a bad thing. I could go on. “Gold on the Shore,” a BJM-esque blast of late ’60s, seasoned by Ty’s immaculate guitar, is a classic Segall love song. “Ghost” starts out with an insect-like buzzing, only to drop into a riff churning through space, as Ty lets us know he has no interest in being a ghost.
“Love Fuzz” is a gem glimpsed fleetingly through a hazy cloud.
“Handglams” feels like Segall found it sealed in a vault for years, then decided to set it free. An explosive groove I hope he’ll expand on live. Really, it’s hard to single out tracks on Twins–this thing is mighty.
The album ends with”There is No Tomorrow,” a sludgy dirge of apocalyptic love that seems destined to end up on many mixtapes with “No Sentiment.” It ends the album with a soothing authority, letting you know you’ve completed a momentous journey. The end and the beginning.
So yes, I really dig Twins, and you probably would as well. Really, you might as well pick up Hair and Slaughterhouse too, if you haven’t already. If Ty Segall has the time to make three great albums in a year, I’m sure you can find the time to listen. Hell, you should probably pick up Guided By Voices’ three new albums this year too, just to be safe. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to give Twins another listen, so I can fully digest it before Ty Segall releases his next seven albums in 2013.