"Anything can really fly in a song with me," says garage-rock savant Ty Segall. Fast cars, and ugly attitudes pasted on pretty ladies, anyone? "But I don't like writing songs with the words girl or baby in them. It's rock 'n' roll, but the bad part of rock 'n' roll is it's been done too much."
Don't get Segall wrong. He may have recently graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in media studies, but he's still an avid student of an ear-popping sound. He bashes out the jams, smashes through complacency, and carries a big guitar. "There are too many love songs out there," he continues, "though there are great ones. And I've written songs with girl and baby in them, but I was a lot younger."
The Laguna Beach-bred Segall harks back to the time when rock 'n' roll was a very young man's not graying boomer's game. At the tender age of 22, the prolific musicmaker has already established a beachhead in the underground as a go-to, go-anywhere, ultra-prolific talent, whether he's playing with SoCal's Epsilons or his fellow Orange County pals in the SF-based Traditional Fools, going solo as a manic one-man band on vocals, guitar, and kick drum, or pinch-hitting in the Mothballs, the Fresh and Onlys, or Sic Alps.
It's been a bustling year for Segall, speaking from his SF home on a cool, sunny autumnal weekday. In line with this spring's collegiate graduation, he also graduated from the comforts of a band to sailing solo with his first self-titled full-length on Thee Oh Sees honcho John Dwyer's Castle Face imprint, released late last year. The gooey, reverb-happy, echo-rific document of his one-man-band approach kept one ear on old-school garage grandpappies like the Standells and another on kindred spirits and contemporaries such as the Black Lips.
Snapping at its heels came this summer's second solo LP, Lemons (Goner), a blast from Segall's past consisting of old and new tunes he tracked in his bedroom, songs that cried out for a full band treatment. Wringing rockin' poetry out of the very state of speechlessness ("Can't Talk"), Segall synthesizes the blunt-force melodicism of Sic Alps ("Cents"), filtering it through a sensibility fostered on the skate vid soundtracks and classic pop songwriting.
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