Posts Tagged ‘Ty Segall’

2014 Year End Music Review – My Favorite Albums

December 29, 2014

I’ve put together two mixes of my some of my favorite 2014 songs (and I’m hoping to get one more in, we’ll see)  and you can view those posts and get the links to the mp3s of the mixes here and here.  Today, I’ll give my thoughts on my favorite albums of 2014.  Some of these will be familiar to those of you who’ve been scouring the myriad year end lists on your favorite music sites.  A few others I didn’t see mentioned.  In no particular order:

1. Mac DeMarco, Salad Days.  I feel like this album is great to throw on when you have people over and want something fun, even, and not too harsh.  There’s a definite sonic blueprint that ranges across all the songs that makes that even sound, but there’s enough variation to keep me coming back and Mac has some good lyrics if you pay attention.  Saw him for the first time at the Fonda Theater this fall and he’s a great showman as well as putting out consistent rock albums.  The title track and Goodbye Weekend were two of my favorites.

2. St. Vincent, St. Vincent.  The album I listened to the most this year by far.  My wife loves this album and with good reason.  Like DeMarco, she had a plan for the feel of this album and it’s the pace of the album is always moving forward.  Annie Clark’s guitar work is stellar and some of the flourishes with horns and other instruments adds to the texture of these songs.  The first half of the album is a murder’s row of really good to great songs, including one of my top 3 songs of the year in Huey Newton.

3. Sylvan Esso, Sylvan Esso.  Probably the second most-listened to album of the year for me.  The reason I liked this, it was a fresh sound.  Taking pixie-like female vocals with bumping beats doesn’t sound like anything new, but I thought this was one of the most original albums of the year.  Opener Hey Mami starts with a stripped down vocal and some handclaps and builds with some booming bass lines.  Nick Sanborn really creates some great beats on this album and Amelia Meath’s voice matches up perfectly with them.  In addition to Hey Mami, Coffee, and Wolf are standouts.

4.  Neneh Cherry, Blank Project.  It was a good year for female artists this year.  This one I didn’t see on any best of lists, but I thought that Cherry’s first solo album in 18 years was a really well done album.  It came out around the same time as St. Vincent’s album and I thought there was a similar fierceness though Cherry’s album is a little bit more of a slow burn than Clark’s.  Cherry still has a nice, breathy voice that hearkens to a lounge artist and her recent collaboration with jazz trio The Thing seems to have influenced some of the music that accompanies her here.

5. Todd Terje, It’s Album Time.  I wasn’t familiar with Todd Terje, but after reading a glowing review when this came out, I took a flyer.  The DJ’s first proper album has a tongue-in-cheek title and there’s a whimsical feel throughout.  At the same time there’s an alien, outer spacey vibe.  In fact, this album was a perfect soundtrack to a surprise trip for friends out into the desert to go to a soundbath (which is a fun experience in of itself).  A cohesive first-off electronic album is hard to do, I can’t remember a better debut album effort in this genre since the Chemical Brothers’ first album.

6. Ty Segall, Manipulator.  My favorite rock album of the year, this album is chock-full of really good garage rock.  It reminded me of driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, you round a corner and think this is the best view ever and then drive on and think the same thing around the next corner.  With Manipulator, it’s this is such a great riff and song, and then you get to the next song and think the same thing all over again.

7.  Moon Hooch, Moon Hooch.  Two saxophones and a drummer doesn’t sound like it could create much variety, but you’d be wrong.  This album rocks hard and it’s one of those albums that you’ll find hard to stay seated while listening.  I’ve heard they put on a great live show and feeling the energy they put out on this album, I believe it.

There were a ton of other great releases this year, here’s a few others I’d recommend if you didn’t check them out yet: Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots, Parquet Court’s Sunbathing Animal, Run the Jewel’s Run The Jewels 2, Perfume Genius’ Too Bright, John Talabot’s DJ Kicks entry, Caribou’s Our Love, Ex Hex’s Rips.  Two other albums that probably would have made my favorites list above but I haven’t had a chance to really listen to them enough to put them in the list were Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead and D’Angelo’s Black Messiah.

2014 was a good year for albums, hopefully 2015 will bring more of the same.


Let The Year-End Music Reviews Begin!

November 23, 2014

I got a head start on my own 2014 music thoughts by putting together a few playlists of songs I liked in 2014.  The first one I’ve done consists of garage rock and hard rock.  Basically songs I liked that were propulsive with killer guitar.  I’m posting the mixes on my Dropbox, you can find the mix here.

Song List:

1. Huey Newton, St. Vincent from St. Vincent.  This wouldn’t seem to fit the mix at first, but I love how it flips about half way from calm to noise.  My favorite track off one of the year’s best front-to-back albums.

2. Tall Man Skinny Lady, Ty Segall from Manipulator.  I could have picked any of a half dozen songs off this excellent release.  The man knows how to create amazing guitar riffs.  The solo on this one is sick too and the drumming isn’t too shabby either.  He scorched this one at the Echo when I saw this summer.

3. So Hot So Cold, Ex Hex from Rips.  Mary Timony created one of my favorite power pop songs with this one from her new band’s debut.  Got to see them play almost the whole new disc at SXSW this year.

4. Lazaretto, Jack White from Lazaretto.  I thought this one was a little more uneven than Blunderbuss, but this was one of the tracks that shows White still is the current king of blues-based guitar rock (sorry Black Keys).

5. Have You Seen My Son, Benjamin Booker from Benjamin Booker.  White better look in his rear view mirror, this young guy from New Orleans is going to be nipping on his heels with driving guitar and drums and just the right amount of gravel in his voice for some blues-based numbers.

6. Headbanger, King Tuff from Black Moon Spell.  Reminds me of 90s alternative rock which reminds me of being in college.  Another strong album most of the way through.

7. I Don’t Know You Anymore, Bob Mould from Beauty & Ruin.  He’s still got it.  The type of song he’s been writing for many years and they still rock with both polish and grit.  Got to see him for the first time ever at SXSW this year, up close and personal and he also hasn’t appeared to lose anything in the live department either.

8.  These Plains, Vertical Scratchers from Daughters of Everything.  Made sense to include one of Mould’s labelmates on Merge Records next.  They played much earlier in the night than Mould at the Merge showcase at SXSW, but they also rocked out in short bursts of songs that bounced along with fun guitar riffs.

9. Flying Golem, Wand from Ganglion Reef.  Mentioned these guys in my write up of Ty Segall’s show at the Echo.  This riff is right up there with anything Ty’s done this year in my opinion.  Saw them again opening for Mac Demarco a few weeks ago and they killed it again on this song.  Hope they start getting some more recognition.

10. Shelter Song, Temples from Sun Shelter. Did you think this was a Beatles song when it started.  It sure sounds like it, but it settles into a pleasant pastiche of 60’s era psychedelia that seems to emanate sunshine through the speakers.

11. Tired & Buttered, Quilt from Held in Splendor.  Some more 60s psychedelic rock to back up Temples.  Instead of England, these guys hail from Boston.  A little less sunny and a little more uptempo.  And a great song title.

12. Instant Disassembly, Parquet Courts from Sunbathing Animal.  Slow it down a bit to end the mix.  An album-of-the-year contender for me and the slow burn of this song and the album in general might not be what you expect from this band, but it suits them well.  You think the song might take off at any minute, but it just keeps moving along at its own pace and I’m just fine with that.

Look for two more mixes in the next couple weeks.

Ty Segall, Wand, Endless Bummer, August 29, 2014 @ The Echo

October 9, 2014

IMG_0670In support of his new album, Manipulator, Ty Segall did a four night stint at The Echo in Los Angeles. We got tickets for the second night. Not only does he put out prodigious amounts of material, it seemed from videos of his live show that he puts as much effort into his concerts. I can now vouch personally that is the case.

There were two openers. First, Endless Bummer, a three piece punk band featuring the two owners of Highland Park’s Permanent Records. I only caught their last few songs. A solid take on California punk, nothing more nothing less. Hey, this is a side gig for them so I wasn’t expecting the second coming of the Minutemen.

Next up was another local band, Wand. A young looking five piece with a lot of guitars, I wasn’t sure what to expect. They really impressed me. As expected they were loud, but they were a tight band that mixed elements of basic guitar rock with some of the more theatrical elements of early English metal and prog rock. One of the tracks that I really liked is Flying Golem, which you can download here. Do it, it’s got one of my favorite riffs of the year so far! Looks like Ty Segall was involved in producing their debut, which makes total sense.

Having set a high bar, Ty came on ready to go. But he first spent a minute apologizing to the aunt of one of Wand’s band members since he had apparently fallen on her staging diving during Wand’s set. It was genuine and sweet, matching how he comes across in the interviews I’ve heard him give. After dedicating the first song (or was it the whole set?) he and his band (including Mikal Cronin) proceeded to tear it up for the next hour. Most of the set was made up from his excellent new album Manipulator. He played almost all the songs from the album! No complaints here, the songs sounded even better live with an even rawer take on some of the solos and some ferocious drumming.  He got a lot of folks crowd surfing, including some ladies who would neatly queue up on stage and then take their dive into the waiting arms of the crowd.

He also played the outstanding “I Bought My Eyes” and “Slaughterhouse” from the Slaughterhouse album.  I’ll admit I got some chills up my spine from the solos in those two.  He also threw out two covers, Motorhead’s Motorhead, which made sense, and then he closed the show with Bad Company’s Feel Like Makin’ Love, which wouldn’t seem to be an obvious choice for him, but he belted it out as he went out into the appreciative crowd.  A great show, can’t wait to see him again!

Someone recorded the entirety of his show the night after I went.  Video is here.

Year End Favorites

December 30, 2013

Here’s some of the albums I enjoyed this year, in no particular order, there’s plenty of other places to find the expert’s best ofs:

1) Lorde – Pure Heroine. Get past Tennis Courts and Royals and there is still a lot of good stuff, solid from front to back.

2) Ty Segall – Sleeper. Surprised this quieter version of Ty’s guitar rock didn’t make it higher on best of lists.

3) Daft Punk – RAM. Very relistenable, it all fits together so well.

4) Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady. An album I want to spend more time listening to, but really fun and ropes in some elements of good 80s pop.

5) Autre Ne Veut- Anxiety. One of the best synth pop albums in a year that seemed to be full of that genre.

6) Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels. A lot of the hyped hip hop this year didn’t make an impression on me, but this one delivers the goods. Can’t wait to see if this was a one-off or there’s more to come.

7) Disclosure – Settle. Best electronic dance album I’ve heard in awhile, it works as standalone songs and fits together to listen to all in one sitting, can’t usually say that about dance records.

And for us 90s lovers, in addition to MBV’s new album, Tricky and Primal Scream both put out solid albums this year.

Sleeper earworm song, when you get past the obvious choices, for me was Foals My Number. Nice song with a great chorus that gets stuck in my head.

Quick Listens

August 14, 2013

Listened to several albums this week I thought worth noting, a couple are up on NPR Music’s First Listen page, so you should check them out over the next few days, or wait until your streaming source of choice has them up.

  • Superchunk, I Hate Music – a funny title from a band that’s been around the block.  Can’t say I’m a fan, have heard songs here and there from them over the years and it never really stuck with me, but I really enjoyed this.  The sound took me back to the early 90s, and I mean that in the best way possible.
  • Ty Segall, Sleepers – this guy can’t seem to stop making music.  Good thing, since he’s so good at making shredding guitar rock.  This record is actually a little more mellow, which I thought was a nice change of pace.  He still rocks, just a little gentler.
  • No Age, An Object – some good smart punkish tunes.  Opening song No Ground reminded me a lot of Sisterworld-era Liars, I really liked that one and the rest had a similar vibe.
  • We Are Loud Whispers, Suchness – quiet, blissful music that might lose your interest if they didn’t throw in so many glitch-y electronics to keep things interesting.  This was released back in May, thanks to Traveling Angeleno for the tip!  Perfect for relaxing after a long day.  You can still stream the album here.