For those of you who have read our Top 30 albums of 2011 lists, you may recognize Ty Segall. His album, Goodbye Bread, ranked a deserved number five on my list and received resounding acclaim from just about every musical outlet. If you haven’t listened to Goodbye Bread by now, you really don’t know what you’re missing. The album is an impressive mass rock opus all within the realm of lo fi garage. At just under thirty-four minutes, it’s amazing to see how much he packs in there. The album, for now, is undoubtedly his masterpiece and has to get his name out there to a lot of people (myself included). One of the more intriguing things I’ve learned of the twenty-three year old in the past few months is how many labels and acts he is associated with. Just looking at his discography shows that he has done work with bands The Perverts, Epsilons, Party Fowl and The Traditional Fools as well as fellow musician, Mikal Cronin. With such diversifying, Segall is currently associated with seven record labels. Yes, SEVEN! Goodbye Bread was released by Drag City, who is no doubt enjoying its massive success. However, Goner Records seems to own the rights to a great deal of Segall’s material. Unfortunately, I think they are simply trying to cash in on that new found popularity with this latest compilation release.
Singles 2007-2010 is massive. There’s no other way to put it. I knew that Segall was an absolute workhorse (three EPs and two albums in 2011 alone), but I had no idea that he had this much unreleased material just sitting around. The final tally comes to twenty-five songs and nearly an hour’s worth of music. For Segall, it feels like Woody Allen trying to make a three and a half hour epic. It just doesn’t seem like a fit. Party of the beauty of Goodbye Bread was the small scale of it all. Ten tracks. A half hour of music. A very personal experience. With this, the whole thing is so crammed and over-expanded that I felt completely trapped within it. Compilations by themselves don’t have the natural flow of an album, but this goes beyond that. None of the songs seem to have even the slightest transition with each other. They all clash together in a loud, bumpy, roller coaster of a collection. It’s not an easy listen.
I’m not suggesting that the quality of music should be measured in how soothing it is for the years, but Segall’s style is a bit of an acquired taste. I definitely acquired the ultra grungy low treble taste for Goodbye Bread, but I can only take it for so long. After a certain point (I’d say about ten tracks or so), all of the heavy guitar indistinguishable vocal tunes start to blend together. You have a hard time hearing or understanding any of it. Halfway through and you can’t tell whether you’re on track fourteen or eighteen and haven’t understand a word he’s said in nearly fifteen minutes. I like the idea of experiencing a garage style album, but this time around it felt as though I’d been taken prisoner and was trapped inside the garage. Segall is a great musician with a great sound, but there really aren’t any tracks here that I’m dying to here again. “My Sunshine” provides a pretty good example of Segall finding his inner-Beatle, but other tracks, like “Fuzzy Cat” resort to two straight minutes of unintelligible noise.
I’m looking forward to his next album or LP very much so, but this one really just feels like a rival record label trying to stand on the shoulders of his success.