Monday, September 26, 2011

NPR: Ty Segall

Ty Segall: Campy Irreverence, Sincere Appreciation

Like so many kids born backwards into an endless digital landscape of ahistorical pop plenitude, San Francisco rocker Ty Segall writes by channeling — and lovingly warping — a carefully curated set of period references. His records are a playful pastiche of '60s proto-punk signifiers: curled-lip delivery, wailing guitar solos, even the fuzzy grain of the era's analog production. But there's more to Segall's music than a simple game of spot-the-influence. Along with his contemporaries in the West Coast neo-garage scene (Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps, Hunx And His Punx), he strikes his retro poses with a mix of campy irreverence and sincere appreciation. In Segall's case, the sincerity shines through — this is, after all, the guy who put a blown-up photo of an adorable floppy dog on the cover of his latest album.

The title track from Goodbye Bread could be a sleeper anthem for the legions of disenfranchised, underemployed young adults who, as new census figures reveal, are among the hardest-hit by the recession. "Hello Monday, goodbye bread" is the refrain, a line Segall delivers as though he's just woken up on a Monday morning, reluctantly facing another week of negligible returns. In depressing times, it's tempting to burrow under the covers, or into a record collection, in search of comfort. But as "Goodbye Bread" unfurls into a disarmingly mellow, casually masterful bit of haiku rock 'n' roll existentialism, it looks like the kids are going to be all right.

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