Posts Tagged ‘Garage’

Ty Segall & Freedom Band

As January rolls around each year, it seems that it’s becoming an expected event for Ty Segall to roll out a full length that’s wrapped in his latest personal stamp. The rest of the year is packed with personal projects, side endeavors, producing, and guest spots, but January is where the big statements get laid down. Last year he teamed up with Steve Albini for a record that tempered the fire for some true pop moments. The year prior he’d burnt down all pop notions for a record that embraced the squirm under the skin. This year he unfolds his double-size gonzo gatefold vision of rock history and it’s supremely satisfying.

Freedom’s Goblin not only culls from Segall’s own personal rock alters, with Bolan boogie butting heads with ten tons of pelvis shakin’ riffs, it acts as a bit of a celebration of rock’s excess and endurance in general. The album does its best to let glam stomp rest easy alongside the AOR country of The Band. It repurposes the disco-funk of Hot Chocolate as a companion piece to Contortions-style skronk. It swaths punk’s pummel in the chirping headspins of psychedelia, breaking down the nugget of rock ‘n roll into heavy-panting visions of fret board mayhem doused the hot house sweat of soul-worn horns.

The core of Freedoms Goblin is that it embraces the notion of making a big record. Not that Ty hasn’t made a proper, heavy studio affair in the past, there’s no denying that fact – but what defines this record is its vastness, its heaviness, its excess, and its embrace of those qualities. That’s not to call this a bloated record, on the contrary, it’s stuffed but not waddling from its own indulgences. Instead FG is a house party with a curatorial ear on the DJ, building out a record that unfolds like someone relishing their ability to collect the skattered pieces of recorded history and reinvest those sounds in new songs.

There’s a cracked glee to the record that feels like Segall may never have had this much fun cobbling together an album. In a year that also boasts a record from rock’s own anointed king, Jack White, I think that Ty might have just gone and stole fire for Olympus with this one. He’s proved he’s not only worth mentioning in the same breath as the established court of “rock’s saviors” he’s worthy of topping the list.




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Booji Boys

Usually it’s time to lull into that nook of time between end of year lists and the first creaks of January releases, but looks like 2017 still had some fight left in her with the release of Booji Boys’ latest LP on Christmas Day. The second record from the Halifax band sees them careening down a similar speed curve as their past work – somewhat out of control, mussed, fussed and finding solace in those cracks that appear in their veneer. The band might take some naming influence from Devo, but sonically they’re ripped from a crud-fi, 8-track version of pop-punk that straddles garage like a well-worn saddle. They bang these tunes out like a mid-90s band cramming as many tracks as possible onto both sides of seven inch for gas money and it sounds great to hear them go for it.

Maybe that’s what’s most endearing about the band, they’re not busting the bar or breaking any molds but they have a tenacity about them that’s stuffed full of pure nostalgia for skate-punk youth. They feel like old friends who just never grew up. Though, by the end of Weekend Rockers even they prove that’s not entirely true. They stretch out on a seven-minute rocker that’s full of twists and turns beyond the 1 1/2 minute hook hump that they’re often hugging. They claim some influence from prog-punk kingpins Fucked Up, though they fall a bit short of the fellow Canadians’ scope. Still, Weekend Rockers winds up a solid slapshot to the skull and as good an album as any to get the blood flowing in these cold, doldrum days.




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Lars Finberg

Remember how a certain T. Segall has been dropping some coarse post-punk nuggets, with a heaping helping of Mikal Cronin squalling on the sax? Seems like perhaps those choice moments might have found some incubation in Segall’s collaboration and production of Lars Finberg’s new LP. The first solo outing from Finberg comes late into a career as a noise-pop and garage go-to – holding down time in The Intelligence, A-Frames, Wounded Lion and Thee Oh Sees. However, he seems perfectly at home with his name above the marquee and hunkered down with his cadre of collaborators. The LP isn’t wholly absent from the space that The Intelligence has occupied, but Moon Over Bakersfield certainly hits its own marks, spreading roots into alien punk and acerbic post-punk with equal zeal.

Finberg feels like he’s sinking into a comfortable relationship with discomfort here, doing his best to unseat pop’s stranglehold on indie as often as possible. The record revels in acid-washed sax, dissociated vocal effects and claustrophobic atmospheres, but it also locks down a serious addiction to groove. Finberg rides the bass like a guiding light, peddling rhythm grunged by a heaping helping of distortion as a daily fix. He’s peeling back the skin on his past and letting the sulfur burn away at the tissues of 2017 in a way that’s as addicting as it is unsettling. If you’ve only met Finberg tangentially prior, it’s time to hit him head on.




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Ty Segall – “The Main Pretender”

Gettin’ hard to resist these Segall gems, dropping almost bi-weekly now like a necessary dosage. The latest pushes aside the laconic cool of “My Baby’s On Fire” for a fever-sweat vision of glam that’s panting with weird lust and shaking with crossfired nerves. It’s an infected descendant of Roxy-era sleaze-rock taken to the logical extreme. Mikal Cronin returns to blow sax on this one, but this time he isn’t providing mere sunset accompaniment to Segall’s house-light comedown, not in the slightest. This time he’s out for blood and bile, cutting through the riffs with a serrated groove that’s sharpened its spines on the back of James Chance’s singular vision from years before. There have been some choice cuts in this multi-hued basket of treats, but none have lacerated like this.




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John Dwyer on Eddie Harris – I Need Some Money

There have been a few artists that remain the cornerstones of RSTB coverage, and without a doubt those are ones I’ve had on the wishlist for the Hidden Gems feature since it started up a couple of years back. Teetering near the top of that list has always been the madman John Dwyer. Thee Oh Sees have spanned 20 releases now and show no sign of slowing. Dwyer’s seared psych has always shown nods to some deeper cuts in the ’60s canon, and his latest LP stripped things back to a decidedly glycerine, serene version of the sound. I’d expected maybe a run towards that route, but that’s what keeps these pieces so interesting. Catching up with Dwyer, he gave an account of how Eddie Harris’ 1975 album I Need Some Money came into his life and the long-lasting impact it’s had on him.

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Ty Segall – “My Lady’s On Fire”

Well I’m a sucker for a soft Segall ballad, that’s for sure. The parts of his previous S/T record that hit me hardest were the moments when the lights went low and the volume got bumped a touch out of the redline haze. “My Lady’s On Fire” kicks in with the same intentions – jangles leading the charge and feeling every bit the folk-popper in the making. Segall takes a swerve though and blows this up to a sunset ’70s showstopper full of horns and a swaying chorus that proves he’s getting comfortable in his role as a topline songwriter. There’s a something here that’s chasing the infinite classic, a Last Waltz ensemble piece that’ll someday bring the house down in tears.

Still not sure what this blocked primary release schedule is leading up to, but Januarys are becoming traditional months for Ty to release a new album so there’s always hope that this is pointing that direction. If it’s just a good shake on the bag of tracks without a home, though, I’m not going to complain either.




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The Cowboys

Bloomington’s Cowboys spit-shined their work for Volume 4, the first of their records that found them studio bound. That record snuck out on tape last year and caught a few ears, but hardly enough, given the promise the band showed and the kind of sweat ‘n soul whirlwind they were showcasing between those two spools. Happily, a couple of folks agreed enough to press it down to LP this year and the band follows on with their a brand new LP for Hozac.

They’ve strayed from the studio back to their home setup, but despite cranking these tunes to 8-track, they’ve still managed to keep the crust at bay. Despite a little tape hiss, the transition isn’t too noticeable. Forging on with plenty more sweat-wrenchers, the band’s prowess is cemented within the grooves of the new record, and on 3rd LP, they should rightfully garnish comparisons to Aussie exports Royal Headache. For all their shakin’ bouts of guitar twang their true asset is apparent in vocalist Keith Harman, who’s got a a leather-scratched soul wail that’s as classic as any. His delivery bumps them up out of the cattle call of garage bands that swarm the country. Though, to say Harman’s the only reason to listen isn’t giving The Cowboys enough credit.

The band’s also got a real affinity for shying away from the cliches of garage’s past and present. They’ve got a lighter touch and aren’t afraid to swagger into territory that’s more Todd Rundgren than tortured fuzz (“Mike’s Dust”, “Like A Man”) and it suits them well. Even when they’re still hitting the gas, Harman pulls them closer to Jagger blue-eyed soul territory rather than tumbling through the Sonics/Stooges axis that’s often split by so many these days. The record’s got a ton of appeal and feels like it’s constantly just a hard push away from making something that’s indelible in the halls of rock. This feels like its going to be a watershed moment to look back on from their undoubtedly future classics.




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Sunwatchers – “Silent Boogie”

Brooklyn’s Sunwatchers follow up their chaotic record for Castle Face with a new slab for perennial favorite Trouble in Mind. The first cut off of Sunwatchers II is a searing skin-melter with Jeff Tobias’ sax splitting hairs between the fult-tilt simmer of ’60s garage-punk and the unrestrained reaches of free jazz. They come down hard with a rhythm tumble that’s unstoppable and a sway over skronk that’s formidable and menacing. They remind me of the psych-jazz tumble of Cato Salsa/The Thing/Joe McPhee’s Two Bands and a Legend in a very good way. Gonna want to get into this when February rolls around, it’ll brighten up a the dark days and warm the cold nights.




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Acid Baby Jesus

Greek’s best current export returns fresh faced and going for a more laconic vibe than they’ve embraced previously. ABJ has traditionally gone for the garage gusto and held on tight, but now they’re folding in plenty of ’70s folk/psych touches to the mix and pulling it off with a pretty solid hold on their history. They can still drive a hook, though, and while the overall vibe of the album has backed away from the intensity of their youth, they still wind up a garage hook now and again on Lilac Days.

The album blows by quickly. It doesn’t mire itself in an obsession with working psych over the barrel of length to draw out the kernel of raw vibe at the center of the beast. They get in and out without overstaying their welcome, and the brevity wears well. What’s striking, though, is when they play things slow – work the ambience more than the stomp n’ twang – they wind up in a place that’s positioning them as heirs apparent to a soft psych mantle that’s in sore need of pickup. “Birth” and “Love Has Left My House Today” in particular find the band lapping at the shores of a calm iridescence that could use more prominence in today’s psych scene. There are plenty that want to proselytize at the altar of groove, but sometimes we all need to simmer and let the damp chill seep into the bones. Acid Baby Jesus ride the vibe well and it would behoove them to follow this muse where it leads.




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Ty Segall – “Alta”

Ty’s been working overtime, dropping non-album nuggets all over this year – 7″s and EPs and now a live favorite tamped down to tape for your listening pleasure. Again wrung out with Albini, this time on a quick break from touring last spring, “Alta” shares much with the sessions that wrought Ty’s last eponymous monster. The track pools in, cool and sparkling before launching into a wall of ’90s grunge that tears the roof off the place. This is a showstopper, an ozone-huffer that reaches for the guitar god in Segall’s bag of personas. It’s easy to see how this one grew out of live performances first and it seems like it might very well cement itself to set-ender placement for quite some time. As far as unexpected presents go, this one’s a pretty sweet package.




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