Archive for “Manipulator”

Ty Segall Is Ready For His Close Up

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on August 28, 2014 by johnbuckley100

As longtime readers of Tulip Frenzy are no doubt aware, we believe we are living in a Golden Age of Rock’n’Roll, thanks largely to the emergence of Ty Segall, Thee Oh See’s John Dwyer, and White Fence’s Tim Presley.  Ty is clearly the freshest platter o’ grass-fed beef in the steakhouse, a fuzz-tone wunderkind whose solo albums since about 2009 have shown artistic growth in a compressed time frame  that, it is not an exaggeration to say, exceeds that of previous saviors-of-the-genre like The Clash.  

You can never have too much garage-rock psyche mixed with Beatles chops, we always say, and over the past four years or so Mr. Segall has delivered the goods in spades.  Way we see it, the arrival of Ty in our summer sky was like the return of the comet that brought us the British Invasion, swept back into view with the Summer o’ Love, made a hasty swoop ’round the planet during the punk era, but then went back into the cosmos for a long and dilatory snooze before three wiseacres came out of the East bearing Frankenstein and Murine, announcing His arrival.

If you are getting the message we believe the sun never sets on Ty Segall’s full talent, yeah, we cop that plea.  So it is with genuine mixed emotions that we greeted the release this week of Manipulator, the 17-song opus Segall’s been promising to drop all these years.  There is a fantastic album contained within it, but going for the double-album glory has brought slightly mixed results.  Let’s offer up the good, bad, and ugly in the spirit of friendship and avuncular advice.

We imagine that Ty, a smart 27-year old who can hit for distance and for average, looked over at Dan Auerbach and the success he’s had with the Black Keys and said, hmmm.  Until the Black Keys hit it big, they were an interesting, authentic Ohio blues band with traces of soul.  Segall is an interesting Cali punk-rock demigod with traces of metal.  Objectively, there is no reason why the Black Keys should play sold-out shows at the Verizon Center and Ty Segall can’t.  Manipulator, then, is an album that is at once mostly true to Ty’s prior work while also a straightforward play for the radio programmer’s heart and soul.  Viewed as such it is a complete success.

That said, when the essential Ty Segall playlist is made up in, say, 2018, we bet we will put many more songs from Twins and Goodbye Bread, or rarities like “Children of Paul” on it than songs from Manipulator.  If “Green Belly” breaks wide open on XMU, or “Who’s Producing You” becomes the biggest hit on Beats Music, no one will be happier than us.  For the uninitiated, Manipulator is a fantastic album.  For those who believe that Ty lights up the night sky, yeah, we get it, and we hope it sells in the mega-millions.  And we’re left just a little bit disappointed — not by the first, say, seven songs, but by what shows up in the back nine, some of which is filler.  For the first time, as catchy as it is, a song like “Susie Thumb” seems slightly formulaic.  Unusually, in “The Hand,” he sounds just a wee bit generic.

But on the title track, on songs like “It’s Over” and “Feel,” the magic is there.  Oh brother, is it there.  We exult in it, and hope those listening for the first time — and we suspect millions will — are moved by this ‘un to press the music wide-eyed on all their friends and family, and then go explore the earlier, rawer albums, and the associated recs by Thee Oh Sees and White Fence that have been made better by the knowledge that Ty was out back, recording his new one in a cheap and scuzzy garage.

 

We Live In A Golden Age of Rock’n’Roll, Thanks To Ty Segall, John Dwyer, and Tim Presley

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by johnbuckley100

Our summer vacation is well planned, though on August 26th we are scheduled to be sitting up straight and paying attention at our work desk.  Somehow we doubt we’ll be of much use that day, given the new Joe Boyd-produced Robyn Hitchcock album and Brill Bruisers by the New Pornographers will both have been released by the time we sip our first taste o’  joe.  Yet we know already that the first album we will download that Christmas-in-August morn will be Ty Segall’s Manipulator, a double album — let that settle for a moment — that Uncut Magazine today declares is the definitive work by the 27-year old tyro.  To say we can’t wait the three weeks ’til it is out slightly understates the facts.

Yesterday, we saw a list put together by GQ of the best albums of the Millennium to date.  We eagerly looked… and found a grand total of one rock’n’roll album on the list that truly mattered.  Lots of Kanye and Beyonce and JayZ, but the only album on the list that we would put on our own compendium was PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake.  This might lead you to believe that, since 2000, there hasn’t been a lot of great rock’n’roll music.  That would be wrong.

It is true that we have had a problem since the odometer rolled over on 2000 to even come up with a proper name or description of the decade we are in, which is one reason why the Teens, or whatever it is we call this cohort of ten years following the miserably named Aughts, seems so shapeless.  So inconsequential.  People don’t even think of it as a proper decade, as if it has been one long continuum since the booster rocket fell off on December 31, 1999.  Ladies and Gentlemen, we are floating in space, and of course no one up here can hear you scream.  But if they could hear us… we would right now be sounding a lot like one of those girls in the old Ed Sullivan Show reruns when the Beatles hit the stage.

Yes, allow me to say that since 2010, we have been living in an absolute Golden Age of Rock’n’Roll, and it is largely because of three personalities: Ty Segall, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, and Tim Presley of Darker My Love and of course White Fence.

They will be seen on no such lists as those compiled by the hacks of the magazine stand.  But any sentient being who cares about real rock’n’roll surely knows that, nearly halfway through the decade, the Teens are shaping up as at least as consequential as the ’90s, which was the best decade for music since the ’60s.  (The ’90s were the ONLY decade since the ’60s when the era’s best and most important music could also claim to be among its most popular, with bands as disparate as Nirvana, R.E.M., Oasis and Blur accompanying less well-known but equally meaningful acts likes the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dandy Warhols, Whiskeytown, Spiritualized, Alejandro Escovedo, and Luna, to name a few, on any proper rundown of the era’s best music.*)

If you read lists like GQ’s, you would be forgiven for immediately wishing to down a bottle of Clorox and ending it all.  But if you think about what pleasure has been handed down to us by Messrs. Segall, Dwyer, and Presley, there is hope.  Better, there is a revelation, milords: this is a Golden Age.

Ty Segall is about to release his 7th album under his own name.  That number doesn’t even include his work with Fuzz, and I don’t think it tallies his collaboration with Mikal Gilmore, or maybe even Tim Presley (Hair by Ty Segall and White Fence.)  Seven of the most exciting fuzz-based, Beatles-infused, punk-rockin’ slabs o’ joy since the British bands dueled with X and our friends in the New York City-based post-CBs cohort to produce that glorious moment between 1978 and 1980, before it all began to go south again, only to pick up the pulse later in the decade with the advent of the Pixies…

John Dwyer’s Thee Oh Sees have produced so many great albums since 2010 that my playlist is two hours long.  And Tim Presley, confused as he has sometimes been about the right medium through which to capture his muse… a slight man sprinting after Tinkerbell with a cup… who can also morph into a rock’n’roll buzzsaw when he hits the stage… has nonetheless released in just the past nine months a wicked live album and, as of last week, a spectacular White Fence studio album.  Three obscure acts.  A Golden Age.

Look, so far this decade, we have loved work by Capsula, PJ Harvey, the black ryder, Bob Dylan, BJM, Cat Power, Cosmonauts, Crocodiles, Dean Wareham, The Evens, First Communion Afterparty, Kelley Stoltz, Kurt Vile, Black Mountain, Magic Trick, Mikal Cronin, Neko Case, Parquet Courts, Phosphorescent, Quilt, Woods, Sleepy Sun, White Denim, and even Tame Impala.  With all the bad vibes emanating from points near and far, we should settle down and settle in, for the ’10s or Teens or whatever we call it are producing some of the greatest music in the 60+ year history of rock’n’roll.  There is a lot more crap out there, of course, and few of the bands named above are making a dent on the Big Lists by the Big Magazines.  But in no small part due to three men, the aforementioned Segall, Dwyer, and Presley, when the real history… the secret history… of music in the new Millennium is written, it will be written in gold.

 

* We understand the argument that the ’70s, like the ’60s, had some of its best bands also turn out to be the most commercially successful.  The Stones, Bowie, Led Zep, yeah, we get it.  But since we think the truly best albums of the decade were by the Clash and Television and Brian Eno, and since none of them really were all that big commercially (the Clash didn’t become big in the US til 1980), we’re going to let our statement stand, if you don’t mind…

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