Ty Segall

There is a revival that is rock and roll, West Coast style: surf rock, psychedelic, neo pop with hints of heavy grunge riffs, intermingled with Bowie-like poetic tones. With labels like Burger Records and Drag City leading the way to rock’s revival, it’s no wonder that Ty Segall (a SoCal native) is leading the pack. It’s difficult to pinpoint musical movements, especially when music is so easily accessible; once downloaded and transferred onto one’s preferred MP3 player its authenticity is often overshadowed almost immediately by the next oncoming tune. This isn’t necessarily a problem; it’s just the age we live in. Ty Segall’s psychedelic and garage rock scream nostalgia. His psych-influenced tunes prompt one to hurry to the nearest record store only because that fuzzy raw sound transfers so much better onto vinyl. Bands like the Allah-Las, Jacuzzi Boys and Tennis are also assisting in bulldozing the psychedelic, neo pop rock scene. Segall has said that bands like The Growlers, David Bowie, and The Velvet Underground have been influential to his melodic garage rock sound, especially for his last full-length album, TWINS.

TWINS has all the markings of that neo-throttled sound that musicians like David Bowie often experimented with, yet Segall’s fidelity remains true to the garage and surf rock sound that he has produced over the years. Segall is in a sound court all his own, and psychedelic riffs that may seem unrecognizable to the average listener, often mesh well with today’s interpretation of music from the 60’s and 70’s. Exactly how has rock and roll shifted? It’s too early to tell, but with the absence of grunge and the psychedelic movement, it has left sizable room for a more avant-garde playing field—hence, Ty Segall’s inevitable neo pop, raw power sound. Segall possesses a certain openness to the idea and ideals surrounding rock and roll, and it’s apparent that he is in the driver’s seat while organically setting the course for his own ideals.

Just as Segall’s songs are increasingly authentic the same can be said for his music videos, which complement his songs. From vicious drive-bys with shooters wearing horrific looking monster masks, to Segall himself surrounded by circus party-goers, Segall’s taste for authenticity stands solid for someone who has combined a vintage feel for music with cinematic cleverness.

Ty Segall’s much anticipated LP Manipulator, which is set to be released on August 25th, carries that eclectic SoCal sound that he has stapled throughout his musical pursuits. He performed three of his songs at this year’s Coachella Festival (“Tall Man Skinny Lady,” “Green Belly,” and “Feel”). Segall is also set to head out on tour right around the same time as the album’s release with bassist Mikal Cronin, Charlie Moothart on guitar, and Emily Rose Epstein on drums.

There are others out there engaged in a similar musical quest. Segall’s is particular, in the sense that he has found the mix and blend that takes Bowie’s glam rock and Iggy Pop’s rawness and combines it with the influence of grunge in just the right doses to create his own hybrid neo-rock sound. Or, in the words of Lester bang, “You’ll meet them all again on the long journey to the middle.”

Text by William Lankford