Ty Segall Goes 3-D On 'Mr. Face'

Jan 12, 2015

Ty Segall is 27 years old, and he does it all — writes, sings, produces, plays guitar and drums. He's released a large amount of music over the past decade, solo albums as well as working with other bands. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Segall's new four-song EP, Mr. Face, and tries to get a fix on Segall's productivity.

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This is FRESH AIR. Ty Segall is 27 years old, and he does it all - writes, sings, produces, plays guitar and drums. He's released a large amount of music over the past decade - solo albums as well as working with other bands. Rock critic Ken Tucker is going to review Segall's new four-song EP "Mr. Face" and try to get a fix on Segall's recent productivity.


TY SEGALL: (Singing) Oh, I see the smoke today. Oh, they say it will burn the way up. We'll burn, burn up. I'll burn all the way up.

KEN TUCKER, BYLINE: Sometimes I feel as though I almost owe Ty Segall an apology. The kid has released an album a year for the past seven years, put out numerous singles, EPs, even cassettes of new music. This, in addition to performing as part or most of at least six other bands including Fuzz and the Epsilons. All this work, and I have never reviewed a Ty Segall project here. As a kind of New Year's resolution, I told myself I'd tackle the next thing Segall released. And that turned out to be "Mr. Face," a four-song EP that's a terrific showcase for Segall's artfully ragged style. He plays everything on these recordings with the exception of one drum part on one song.


SEGALL: (Singing, inaudible).

TUCKER: Ty Segall is deeply influenced by music recorded before he was born or when he was very young. He has cited, as influences, everyone from The Grateful Dead to The Velvet Underground to Kiss. He uses the phrase super noisy to characterize some of his best music, which partakes of the bash-it-out philosophy of '60s garage rock and '70s punk. A song on the new EP called "Circles" begins with a 30 second drum solo, followed by a song that achieves maximum intensity right from the start of Segall's vocal. The entire song is a plaintive wail about the difficulties of a relationship based on endless analyzing of the relationship.


SEGALL: (Singing) ...It makes me feel all right to know you're more than sleepy, it keeps me up all night. I remember you, dear, sitting oh so near. You, (unintelligible) by my side. So we walk, and we walk, and we walk. And we talk, and we talk, and we talk. This is us in circles, yeah.

TUCKER: Segall knows how to have fun. The "Mr. Face" EP comes on two seven-inch disks that double as a pair of 3-D glasses. If you're looking to increase your Ty Segall collection, I highly recommend his solo albums, "Manipulator" and "Twins," a compilation of non-album songs called "$INGLE$ 2" and the "Fuzz" 2013 album.

Sure, there's some self-indulgence in Segall's work and some repetition if you listen to big chunks of his discography. But self-indulgence in the service of creating the kind of passion produced when you pour out every is a rewarding indulgence. And who besides a music critic re-listens to a half-dozen albums by the same artist in one sitting?


SEGALL: (Singing) How many times must I walk by before I say goodbye to you? And how many times I wish for a sign, something to tell me it's not true?

TUCKER: Ty Segall knows that's not how most people consume music. He knows that his listeners are looking for something fresh and new that nevertheless links up to a grand tradition of flat-out revved-up rock 'n' roll. And he gives it to them; he gives it to them a lot.

GROSS: Ken Tucker is critic-at-large for Yahoo TV. He reviewed Ty Segall's new four-song EP called "Mr. Face." If you'd like to catch up on interviews and reviews that you missed or just listen on your own schedule, check out our podcast. It's easy to get on iTunes or on your phone app. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.