Save this man from cult obscurity! He's heavy, sleazy, feckless... and a little bit special
You only need to look at this year’s Mercury Prize nominations or the number of brilliant and diverse albums released in the month of September alone to realise music in 2012 is in rude health. The problem is that we’re still playing it safe. What’s been dubbed ‘The New Boring’ (oh hey, Emeli Sandé and Ed Sheeran) still dominates the radio, possibly because the bands creating innovative and interesting music are hidden away under a massive lack of personality. Would you be able to pick out any of Django Django from a line-up? Course not. Is anyone ever going to write a retrospective on the rock’n’roll excesses of Alex Trimble from Two Door? Doubtful.
This is where Ty Segall comes in. You may have heard his name popping up more frequently of late, and that’s because he’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore. ‘Twins’ is the San Franciscan’s sixth solo album, and the third record he’s put out in 2012, following one with his band (‘Slaughterhouse’) and one alongside White Fence (‘Hair’). On record, he sounds like Black Lips having a ruck with Tame Impala. Live, he rolls around in the crowd and plays such heavy and joyous riffs that you can’t help but dance so hard it’s like you’re trying to stamp the earth away. Segall, often compared to the late, great Memphis punk rocker Jay Reatard, seems born to be a cult star. He’ll squirrel away, prolifically churning out one weird and wonderful album after another, all in the shadows, only to end up being namechecked by the 2030 version of The Horrors and given some all-too-late recognition. We can’t let this happen.
‘Twins’ is an incredible album and one that makes complete sense in the context of now. It has the reckless spirit of a record that hasn’t been over-analysed, but with an intense flurry of ideas from someone in the absolute prime of their creativity. It veers from psych-tinged, Syd Barrett wonks (on brilliant closer ‘There Is No Tomorrow’) to heavy glam riffs and sneering vocals (on highlights ‘Inside Your Heart’ and ‘They Told Me Too’) via straight-up garage-punk kicks (‘You’re The Doctor’), all welded together with a mix of feckless hedonism and the careering energy of a freight train. Lead single ‘The Hill’ begins with an angelic female harmony before erupting into sleazy stomps and dirty fuzz, while the amazingly titled ‘Handglams’ takes a grunge-tinged turn and is a mix of gnarly, angry sonics and bratty, sardonic vocals. Then you get ‘Love Fuzz’, all eyelid-fluttering coyness and brilliantly dirgy riffs like Pond gone sexy; and the penultimate bow-out of ‘Gold On The Shore’, full of acoustic twangs and stripped-back simplicity. It really is special. Because Ty Segall really is special. Please don’t let this one slip through the net.