It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are three reactions, three impressions, three Takes on Visions by Grimes.
Montreal’s 23-year-old Claire Boucher is a self-styled producer, artist, and remixer. She left Vancouver for Montreal to attend McGill University and studied philosophy and neurobiology before discovering GarageBand. In 2010, she dropped out of McGill with two records. Newly signed to 4AD, Grimes delivers with Visions, a run-through of electronica stylings and pop sensibilities. While some of her early work may have suggested the gothic charm of Fever Ray, here on Visions, her sound is broader.
“Infinite Without Fulfillment” rides swinging, jagged percussion. The bouncy, synth-driven lullaby of “Genesis” has the singer’s signature high-pitched, arty vocals on top of a driving beat. Boucher’s girl pop vocals are in full-effect with ooh oohs and la la las on the romper “Oblivion”, where she pleads “I need someone now to look into my eyes and tell me girl you know you gotta watch your health.” She gives us cryptic glimmers of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” with “Color Of Moonlight,” and goes mod-disco on “Visiting Statue,” which is colored in more girl pop shades. Boucher’s vocals are chameleon and distinctive, an effect that works on songs like “Visiting Statue.” “Vowels=space and time” is aided by snappy drum machine march. Boucher’s experimental R&B vocals shine on “Skin,” where she does her best Aaliyah with a careful falsetto and stutter beat.
It’s interesting how Boucher describes her music as “post-internet,” because her music is all internet-driven. Visions’ soft electro-art rock makes like this year’s tUnE-YarDs: a breakout female artist unabashedly incorporating all that is relevant in 2012. Visions takes up a perfect space between to Poliça’s downbeat Give You The Ghost and the quirky pop of tUnE-YarDs playful w h o k i l l.
This record is a little chirpy for my tastes. As far as looped, dreamy female vocals go, I’ll take Julianna Barwick’s moody elegance over Grimes’ squeaky energy any day of the week. Still, upon hearing Grimes debut Visions, I understand what people seem to like about it: It’s complex, well-constructed dance music. It may sound to me like a band fronted by a 13-year-old anime character/chipmunk . . . but one who obviously knows what she is doing. I’m actually surprised to find that I enjoy tracks like “Genesis” and “Eight,” if only for their great beats and production value. Maybe someday I’ll come around and get into the voice, but I think it’s going to take some time. Maybe it’s the fact that the two records I have had on lately are this one and Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas. If there was ever an antithesis to Cohen’s new album, Grimes’ Visions would surely be it.
Visions is Grimes’ first proper full-length release, though her songs and impending hipness have been swimming around the internet for months. And while I don’t normally find value in genre names like “grave wave” or “witch house,” when describing this album they are surprisingly apt. A recent study claims that modern parents feel classic fairy tales are too scary for their children. On Visions, Grimes takes it upon herself to prevent the darkness of these children’s tales from going anywhere—even if she has to play all the parts herself.
And she does. The woman behind Grimes, 23-year-old Claire Boucher, takes a bedazzled hammer of electronics and keyboard and pounds simple, catchy beats into your brain. These are layered with dreamy arpeggios, “oohs,” “ahhs,” and other sounds from outer space. But when she coos “oh baby” it’s no more compelling than when anyone else does. Paired with her baby-doll falsetto, I can’t seem to fully get past that.
It may no longer be a valid critique to say an artist’s album doesn’t play like a cohesive whole. But if an album doesn’t have a strong linear flow, why have an intro and an outro? In this case it delays a strong start and belabors an already drawn-out ending with songs that are only partially formed.
Visions also feels top heavy. The catchiest, most danceable tracks (“Genesis,” “Oblivion,” and “Eight”) are clumped together in the first 12 minutes of the album. Much of the rest feels like filler. The last full track is the exception. ‘Skin” builds over the course of six minutes, and shows the influence of Lykke Li, with whom Grimes toured last year.
“Skin” also demonstrates what I want more of on future Grimes recordings: depth, complexity, and more vocal range. I hope the falsetto is a phase. When you catch a glimpse of Boucher’s real voice, it’s deeper and darker, more PJ Harvey than pop princess. I didn’t think Visions was earth shattering, but it grabbed me enough that I’ll stick around to see what happens next.
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are three reactions, three impressions, three Takes on Six Cups of Rebel by Lindstrøm.
If you divide 100 by seven, you get 14.286. If you divide Lindstrøm’s latest album, Six Cups of Rebel, by seven, you get one solid dance song. “Call Me Anytime”—a nine-minute track nestled in the middle of six other hyper-repetitive, unsexy, itchingly fast house cuts—is consistently surprising considering the genre in which the Norwegian producer has decided to work. Synths evoking wonky horns, strident piano, and exotic flutes lend “Call Me Anytime” a Roxy Music-esque freakout vibe that morphs into a blast-beat-punctured jazz track—ultimately ending on a tropicalia chill. Think of an Orbital tune, if Orbital reinterpreted the soundtrack to Castlevania.
The infectious grooves and dynamic flourishes that make “Call Me Anytime” so good are lacking from the rest of Six Cups of Rebel. The other tracks zoom past like weird, pseudo-psychedelic trains. They’re loud and loaded with just enough weird vocal samples to make a fan of The Books wonder why they’ve never listened to dance music. Opener “No Release” uses organ tones in a way that will make you want to run out of church on Sunday. “De Javu” revels in low-end grooves that embarrassingly rumble like your stomach after huevos rancheros. Channeling the Blue Man Group (or something), “Magik” features the swip-swips samples of someone whipping a piece of plastic through the air. I could go on, but I think it’s kind of pointless. If you want to hear some funky space disco that uses repetition, retro synth, and brassy atmospherics very well, look no further than Lindstrøm’s partner in crime: Prins Thomas.
I admire electronic composer Lindstrøm’s new album more than I “like” it. Through seven tracks (why not call it Seven Cups?), Lindstrøm is adventurously creates unconventional song structures. Tunes like “Magick” and “Hina” are free-flowing and weird techno-journeys that warp a normally structured genre into organic colors and shapes. Call it electronic jazz if you will—Lindstrøm frees himself from the tyranny of a cohesive beat and journeys down the rabbit hole heedlessly. On one hand, it makes for an intriguing, even amazing, listen. On the other, Lindstrøm’s abandonment of conventional format makes his sound lacks accessibility. It’s technically dazzling music that (at least for me anyway) doesn’t hold much purely aesthetic appeal. Do I enjoy listening to it? Sure. But unless I’m in the mood to delve wholly into the album in my sensory deprivation chamber, I’ll probably choose something else.
I’ve patiently waited for a follow-up from Norwegian producer Lindstrøm comparable to his excellent 2008 LP Where You Go I Go Too, yet I’m consistently disappointed. His work since hasn’t been bad, but it hasn’t lived up to the euphoric, head-in-the-clouds electronic revelry that burst through the speakers on Where You Go. After some good, but not great, collaborations with fellow producer Prins Thomas and sultry voiced chanteuse Christabelle, Lindstrøm returns with a second full-lengt, Six Cups of Rebel. Unfortunately, like the collaborative follow-ups, this record spends more time wobbling around the edges than reaching dance floor nirvana. The material ranges from the cheesy stomper “Quiet Place to Live” to the church organ tapestry of “No Release,” which lives up to its name by never giving the listener any semblance of resolution. Lindstrøm comes closest to his previous magic on the frantic, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink “De Javu” and the wandering, mystical space funk of “Call Me Anytime”—a track that leaves no stone unturned in its quest to mine every sound known to man.
It’s feels like Lindstrøm either isn’t capable of or doesn’t want to replicate the rapturous space disco (as it is often called) of Where You Go I Go To. I suppose I shouldn’t go into each release expecting Lindstrøm to reinvent his own wheel, but I also can’t mask my disappointment when he doesn’t even come close.
Toward The Low Sun may be the best Dirty Three album in over a decade. While I think that both 2005’s Cinder and 2003’s She Has No Strings Apollo are undeservedly maligned, there is no denying that Low Sun does a better job of recapturing the magic that the Dirty Three found in their earlier records. They don’t compromise here, either. The band has been accused of losing sight of melody for the complexity of their sonic adventurousness. Low Sun is by no means pared down. Without “dumbing down” their sound, however, the band crafts structures that complement the melodies without obscuring them.
Well . . . except for record opener “Furnace Skies.” The album’s first track is a blast of guitar noise, irregular beats, and general chaos. It’s as if, at the start, the band is trying to get the mess all out of their systems before moving on. The rest of Low Sun is full of the Dirty Three’s elegant instrumental folk/jazz oeuvre. “Sometimes I Forget You’re Gone” strips down an aberrant piano melody and accompanies it with Jim White’s drumming, which sounds as if he’s trying to hit every drum and cymbal simultaneously. Warren Ellis’s violin doesn’t take its customary prominent position within the band’s sound until lovely folk ballad “Moon on the Land,” which is also enhanced by mandolin and more restrained drumming from White.
Ellis takes the lead on the record’s two best tracks, driving both “Rising Below” and “Rain Song” with some of his most evocative violin melodies since Whatever You Love, You Are. The former focuses mainly on the dynamic between guitarist Mick Turner and Ellis’s multi-tracked strings. Between the two of them, Turner and Ellis produce a vibrant melancholy that, in line with the band’s aesthetic, climaxes in an orgasm of instrumentation. “Rain Song” mainly consists of Ellis’s disconsolate strings and picking, which wander across the span of the funereal tune before ending in a whimper.
Low Sun ends impressively, with “That Was, Was,” “Ashen Snow,” and “You Greet Her Ghost” finishing the backend of the record with impassioned sadness, particularly with the addition of a forlorn flute on “Ashen Snow.” The closing is reminiscent of some of the Dirty Three’s finest late-’90s/early-2000s work, concentrating on violin-led melodies evocative of a wide array of emotional responses. In fact, while every emotion from extreme pain to extreme joy is explored in the space of the instrumental tracks, the one response that never comes to mind is boredom. The Dirty Three have always been a thrill to listen to, and on Toward the Low Sun, the thrill never comes at the expense of complexity. If the band’s fire was simmering low throughout most of the 2000s, it is certainly roaring again.
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are three reactions, three impressions, three Takes on Born To Die by Lana Del Rey.
I think I am supposed to be outraged…OUTRAGED!… by Lana Del Rey and her new LP Born to Die. Despite my best effort to fire myself up and buy into the notion she is worse than Milli Vanili covering Nickleback, Born to Die mostly just bores me. My first thought upon hearing her breakout hit “Video Games” was that someone did a crappy version of what Lucinda Williams would sound like if she tried to write generic pop and had significantly less talent. The rest of the album is equally bland. Where you could be creative, she instead titles a song “Diet Mountain Dew,” when she could be intriguing, she sings about “cocaine hearts” and wraps her song in over dramatic pop dribble on “Off to the Races.” Born to Die didn’t really bug me or make me upset, it just made me wish it was over. The thing that confuses me is that people who generally value artist creativity seemed instantly enamored with her, which only helped to fuel the backlash. To me, this album sounds like a perfect complement to the record collection for those who get excited when The Black Eyed Peas come on the radio. I suppose if I looked at it in a different light, I could get myself in a tizzy, but I can’t even fathom why Lana Del Rey has even been inserted into that conversation. Shiny, overproduced, lowest common denominator pop music that is meant for high school dances and top 40 radio stations, not music nerds like me. Despite what Liz Phair says.
I was initially drawn in by Lana Del Rey’s first single “Video Games.” It has a nice melancholy melody that is well suited to Del Rey’s smoky pipes. And I still don’t think it’s a terrible song – that is unless you listen to the lyrics. In “Video Games” as well as the rest of Born To Die Del Rey seems to have actually filled in the lyrics as an afterthought, or possibly using a random word generator. Take the line “I say you’re the bestest / Lean in for a big kiss / Put his favorite perfume on,” for instance. It sounds like something you might find in a 3rd grader’s diary. And despite the awful lyrics, if Del Rey had at least managed to craft an album’s worth of melodies that are as good as the one from “Video Games,” then the record wouldn’t be a complete disaster. Unfortunately the rest is mostly dreck – innocuously bland melodies with jarringly superimposed hip hop samples.
Del Rey is infamous for calling herself the “gangster Nancy Sinatra,” which from the sound of this seems to mean copping Nancy’s style and tacking on some poorly conceived beats. The main difference between Del Rey and Nancy though is that Sinatra had substance. In addition to being a sex bomb she was also a gal whom you couldn’t tip over with a feather. Del Rey has the sex part down pretty well, but thus far the substance is lacking.
A lot of people already are on polar opposite sides of the spectrum regarding the songstress known as Lana Del Ray. Ever since the debut of the song that catapulted her into the limelight known as “Video Games”, it’s been interesting to see the critic’s word regarding the album known as Born To Die. Regardless though, this sounds like “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” by Kanye West (even Jeff Bhasker shares production duties on two of the album’s cuts), but even with that, Kanye’s production handprint is all over this, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Rather than the hedonistic, excessive highs that Kanye uses, Lana takes on the melodramatic lows of love and heartbreak, and again, this also works in “Born To Die’s” favor. Such cuts as “Off To The Races”, and even the upbeat tempo of “Diet Mountain Dew”, Lana’s vocals aren’t anything to whine about, but it takes a certain downer amount of energy to digest the wallop that this disc packs across 65-plus minutes. If you’re grading her music solely on the live performance of SNL, then you are sadly mistaken to say that this disc sounds bad or doesn’t pack a punch. But there’s a great deal of material here that warrants a second time around to truly see how to digest Lana Del Ray.
Listen below to what is apparently the last LP from the original lineup of local trio Zoo Animal. While lead singer/songwriter/guitar player Holly Newsom will be soldiering on under the Zoo Animal banner, the three piece that has been a stalwart of the local scene over the last few years will be changing as the rhythm section has decided to call it a day. The songs are are jagged and stark as previous work, but take the sound even further and are the most bleak, focused material Newsom has written yet. Celebrating the release of the record with Zoo Animal tonight will be a great lineup featuring Is/Is, Gospel Gossip, and Gramma’s Boyfriend at the 7th Street Entry.
The New West is now christened; lead by Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy’s lyrical assaults that go beyond the obvious crime and drug-rattled narratives, focusing on good times with their new crew Black Hippy (Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul & Jay Rock). Schoolboy Q was born Quincy Matthew Hanley on a military base in Frankfurt, Germany, and then raised in South Central, Los Angeles. After attending a few community colleges, he gave the rap game a curious look and found himself immersed. By 2009, he had released two mixtapes with Turned Hustla (2008) and Gangsta & Soul (2009). In 2011, Schoolboy released his debut, Setbacks, and started to generate a buzz. He appeared on the critically praised Kendrick Lamar debut Section 80 and ASAP Rocky’s heavy buzzing mixtape Live Love A$AP, building expectations before he released his sophomore long-player Habits & Contradictions in 2012.
While Schoolboy Q and Lamar are new school, and likely most of their friends maybe be gang-affiliated, Schoolboy himself a former Hoover Crip who spends tales as their lives unfold. Both document life through the playfulness of Souls Of Mischief cemented by the ‘fuck everything” ethos of N.W.A. and the cockiness of a young Kanye West. Schoolboy Q says “Biggie, Nas and 50 Cent are my biggest influences”. At the same time, he is emotional and drugged out on everything with pockets full of oxycontin, mushrooms, weed, liquor and condoms. It is a soundtrack of street life, a sincere view of America through a darker lens, where Obama’s election changes nothing on the ground.
Habits & Contradictions opens with the mournful “Sacrilegious”, which offers “gloomy hoodies and weaponry…marinating in Satan water”. Schoolboy knows he must answer for his ills “They say clean your hands before you eat, rest your sins with pray/But I’ve done did some things I don’t think I could ever wash away.” On his certified banger “Hands On The Wheel” with Harlem’s ASAP Rocky, Schoolboy re-imagines Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness”. The drug-fueled “Oxy Music” delivers on its title. The darkness of the Odd Future is referenced on “Raymond 1969”, as it rides a sample of Portishead “but they worried about Osama, blood and crip niggas, Jeffery Damers” as Schoolboy gets crunk all over the track. On “Nightmare On Figg St he states “better hope our star poppin’/Before I start robbin’ the re-up with OxyContin”. “Grooveline Pt. 1” gets soulful with assist from Dom Kennedy and Currensy. On his ”look at me” song “Gangsta In Designer (No Concept)” Schoolboy quips “my foreign hoe gangeroon, always rocking shit I never know” juxtaposed with “burner on my lap, nigga motherfuck the cops” over a bouncy melody. “My Homies” addresses on the meaning of loyalty and “real nigga addictions” produced by Alchemist. There’s also the plenty of panty dropping tales of “Sex Drive”, “Druggys Wit Hoes Again” and “Sexting” in a more typical topics. The albums emotional jewel is the keeper “Blessed” with comrade Kendrick Lamar. The cryptic ”Nightmare On Frigg St.” name drops “Niggas In Paris” for no apparent reason as he indulges in Gravediggers scary movie creepiness over a RZA sounding production.
Hardcore hip-hop goes druggie and gets the hallucinogenic treatment, along with tales of sex parties and robberies. Despite all the tough talk he finds a way to mention his love for daughter as being his greatest affection. Standout tracks include the explosive “Hands On The Wheel”, and the introspective “Blessed”; finally, the witty lyricism of “Gangsta In Designer ( No Concept)” proves Schoolboy Q is competitor. Alongside newer artists like Danny Brown, ASAP Rocky and Currensy, Schoolboy Q has found his lane, braggadocios pimp shit, pill popping’, oxy talking, weed celebrating, reflective and woman exploring, about that live in the moment shit, staying strapped, always remember to protect your neck. Habits & Contradictions is already being talked about as a breakout record, its richness in detail while it zing-zags across various styles and flows politically incorrect at every turn is a celebration of dark joyfulness.
This will be day three of Brother Ali coverage, but trust me, it is worth it. After seeing a video and hearing a song from his new EP, we can finally deliver to you his brand new record for the basement bargain price of $0.00. A little slower and more sensual than a lot of his old material, The Bite Marked Heart is a smooth, easy listening journey through the less intense version of Brother Ali. A good album to put on with your special someone today if you are into that kinda thing. Stream the album below or download it for free
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are Three reactions, Three impressions, Three Takes on Rad Times Xpress IV by Black Bananas.
Jennifer Herrema late of rock deconstructionists Royal Trux, who briefly morphed into RTX, reappears here with Black Bananas and her voice is raspy as ever. For whatever reason I fully expected this record to be completely dire, but it is not. Royal Trux found a small hole in stoned 70s rock (Stones, some Neil Young) and crawled into it, set up shop and invented their own weird sound world that could be great and terrible, often at the same time. Black Bananas sort of does the same thing but the point of reference is overstuffed 80s funk-rock a la Parliament-Funkadelic and George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” record. Except the end result isn’t exactly funky. More like a groove-based disorientation (which frankly is pretty similar to what the other-half of Royal Trux, Neil Michael Haggerty, has been exploring with the Howling Hex). Every song has about nine things going on at the same time. Digital hand-claps, synth, synth-y guitar, drums, vocals, strings, hair metal guitar soloing, even more vocals and farty potato basslines, you name it’s all in here. And like I mentioned I didn’t want to like this but I find myself strangely pulled back to it. “Hot Stupid” is pretty catchy I can’t deny (and that’s about all you can ask from a song called “Hot Stupid” I think). And other tunes, namely “Do It” sort of sound like acid-damaged modern R&B or a new-ish Prince song, which is basically the same thing. “My House” is surprisingly not a cover of the Mary Jane Girls’ classic since that would make sense as a sort of touchstone for this record. Well, it would if the Mary Jane Girls had dressed like LA Guns and dabbled in cod-Metallica riffs sometimes.
Black Bananas (formerly RTX) frontwoman Jennifer Herrema’s band Royal Trux with then boyfriend Neil Hagerty deconstructed the Rolling Stones into a messy noise rock affair. If Royal Trux was the Exile On Main Street, Black Bananas squarely fall into the disco funk of the post-Some Girls Stones. Opener “It’s Cool” kicks off with a snare drum fill straight into a tripped out guitar intro that almost sounds like a rewrite of the riff to “Foxy Lady”. “TV Trouble” drops most of the psychedelics for a slightly more straight ahead bass funk before “Acid Song” puts things straight into a slightly trippier 1980s Stones homage sound. The rest of the first half falters between not memorable and downright annoying with the auto-tuned vocals “Hot Stupid”. The riff heavy “My House” is nothing really memorable but helps pull things out of dance beat territory for a minute. The wailing saxophone of “Overpass” is sort of the highlight of the second half of the album while the closer “Killer Weed” seems like a tacked on Motley Crue leftover. While Rad Times Xpress IV never exactly completely flops, it fails to produce anything of much interest.
A few years removed from the scuzzy classic rock of Royal Trux, Jennifer Herrema still can’t mellow out. Her latest band, Black Bananas, make the kind of convoluted and overwhelming noisy rock that will instantly draw in fans of Trux, while adding their own funky twist to the occasion. Rad Times Xpress IV is 45 minutes of messy, cosmic sludge that sounds like Herrema’s old bands aural mess filtered through the swampy, psychedelic lens of Parliament Funkadelic. This is not saying you are going to hear Maggot Brain, but the spirit, that sense of more is more and weird is better is a common thread throughout the entire LP.
Tracks range from the righteous, thick garage funk of “Hot Stupid” to the thick synth charges of “RTX Go-Go.” From the opening sludge of “It’s Cool,” Rad Times Xpress IV is a 13 song exercise in excess and opulence, with no effect pedal or outrageous idea discounted. This is an album that features songs titled “Killer Weed,” “Foxy Playground” and “Acid Song,” and continues the rich RT tradition of keeping one foot in the gutter and the other in the refined guitar rock cannon. The songs are about as chaotic and unfocused as you would expect, with the listener feeling a little like they are sitting in a sloppy, late night jam session. Like Royal Trux, you can’t help but wonder what the band could accomplish if they didn’t sound like they were intentionally throwing sand in the gears (especially when the blueprint fails as it does on “TV Trouble”), but Rad Times Xpress IV is plenty of fun and another feather in the RT related cannon.
(PS–If you aren’t sold simply by the glitter bombed, funked up classic rock, know that the artwork is about as outrageous as the music and well worth checking out.)
In more words the album is disjointed and self-indulgent, but also fun and promising. Considered as a stand-alone entry outside of legacy that Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty built with Royal Trux, this album is still a very noteworthy listen. It falls somewhere short of extraordinary, but only perhaps for its lack of focus. The electronic-infused beats are punctuated by masterful guitar work that manages to be both tasteful and bombastic within stand-out tracks such as “Do It” and “TV Trouble”. Clocking in at just over two minutes, “Do It” crosses the line of succinctness into becoming fleeting, which proves to be problematic theme throughout.
The tracks with the least to say musically seem to get the most time on album. Curiously, the album switches it up to an almost arena rock-punk style for “My House”, which is interesting, but almost feels like a hidden track right there in the middle of the album. The song offers us a rare glimpse of Hagerty’s impressive guitar prowess, without hiding behind the over-saturated fuzz that permeates much of the rest of album, which is refreshing. Herrema maintains poise and attitude throughout but falls flat on some choruses that don’t feel genuine and some, like on “Hot Stupid”, that resort to the unfortunate tactic of autotune to further this disingenuousness. This album is both impressive and fun, but manages to still not seem important.
Don’t miss Black Bananas on 5/22 for what should be a great show with Kurt Vile at the 400 Bar.
This isn’t going to help the Jay Reatard comparisons. Ty Segall has been compared to the late garage punk Reatard for many reasons, namely their prolific pysch-garage sounds that find the artists hiding their pop hooks underneath layers of fuzz and their ability to create a lot of sound and fury with minimal parts. Now Segall is following in Reatard’s footsteps with a collection of his best singles in the form of a powerful compilation. Segall’s collection is 25 roaring tracks collected under the umbrella called Singles 2007-2010 and is being released by the venerable Nasville label Goner Records. The tracks range from cuts featured on his LP and EP’s to harder to find singles that really round out the collection, making a final product that would work as well as an introduction to new fans as it will as a capstone for the diehards.
Per usual, the songs are quick and powerful bursts of garage based fuzz stomp, with a mix of his early one man band material (much more stripped down) and his later work when he had a band backing him up. The 25 songs contain little fat, with the longest track clocking in at 3:08, and he packs in as much muscle as he can over the collection. Ranging from the straight forward stompers like “It” and “No No,” to the gentler acoustic jams “Lovely One” and on to the demented organ freakout of “….And then Judy Walked In.” A personal favorite of mine has always been the rich, T-Rex boogie of “Caesar,” which highlighted his Melted LP and is one of my favorite tracks he has put to tape.
Segall also has no problem working his magic on songs by other artists, with the collection containing covers of songs by Chain Gang, Thee Oh Sees, Simply Saucer and Gories. Seeing that five of the final tracks were demos only made me laugh, realizing that the lo-fi scraggly mess that made final albums was not actually first takes recorded straight to tape as I had expected (and secretly hoped). It is funny hearing “The Drag,” a powerful but straightforward highlight from his self-titled debut LP, in an even more primitive stage. The song, the first song to draw me into the fuzzy web of Segall a few years back, lost a lot of the punch of the final version being backed by a a drum machine, which drained some of the vitality that helped create the stirring final product. Whether highlighting the ongoing creative process he works through or simply bringing together 25 great tracks, Singles 2007-2010 is a rewarding listen and a testament to one of the hardest working and most entertaining artists in rock music right now. As is the case with every Segall record, it is already out of date and behind the times, but shows again that despite his breakneck pace, he is following in Reatards footsteps in making sure that the quality is equaling the quantity.
Segall will be playing a show at the 7th Street Entry on 5/8 with White Fence supporting (surprise!) a new LP created in collaboration with White Fence.