By Less Lee Moore
Ty Segall gets a lot of—admittedly deserved—attention. But what of his constant cohorts? Segall's latest project, Fuzz, includes two of them and it's killer. Fuzz is comprised of Roland Cosio (drummer for Epsilons) on bass and Charles Moothart on guitar (The Moonhearts and live guitarist for Segall) and what's this? Ty Segall on drums and vocals. Aw yeah.
Right away you can tell that Fuzz's self-titled release owes a lot to the past when it credits Chris Woodhouse with “Recording, Mixing & Wizardry” and includes lyrics like “Still we ride the burning ship/ride the ship cause we can't quit.” Not to mention the mind bending cover art. True to form, “Earthen Gate” opens with staccato dissonance and sounds straight outta the stoner '70s before it speeds up into quasi-metal territory, with flashes of Pink Floyd pre-The Wall. The album is not a parody, though, and that lack of self-consciousness makes it eerily timeless.
“Sleigh Ride” (of the aforementioned burning ship lyrics) is so captivating musically that the lyrics are almost secondary. The slow, mesmerizing “What's In My Head” includes a chills-inducing vocal performance from Segall, drawing the word “saw” out into four delicious syllables, and a thrilling guitar coda. Segall's banshee shriek permeates the heavy but tight “Hazemaze” and just when you think it's over, it comes storming back with an awesome guitar/bass melody propelling it forward.
“Loose Sutures” is the showcase showdown of the album. Dig the multi-tracked harmonies on the word “run.” Then marvel as a guitar solo introduces an extended jam, a bowed guitar bit, alternating bass and drum solos, and then yet another jam. It's kind of astonishingly good. You can only get away with this if you can play really well, and these dudes can.
“Preacher” presents a pounding sonic assault and a downright threatening guitar sound. Mootheart takes lead vocal duties on “Raise,” with a bluesy beat, harmonies from Segall, and some interesting lyrics (“He raised the sun up high/and left us all to live or die/he lets the babies die and mothers cry/what's his side?”).
Live performance of “One”
The instrumental “One” feels cinematic in scope, a constant building of tension, only relieved with intermittent periods of epic drumming and chord changes, ending with an amazing flourish.
It's hard to believe all this goodness is contained within only 37 minutes. And yes, Segall's as good of a drummer as he is a guitarist and singer. Don't miss out on Fuzz.
Fuzz was released by In The Red on October 1.
New on Popshifter this week: I strongly recommend Richard Crouse’s new book Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils; a concerned citizen lays down some rules on proper Facebook etiquette; Julie can’t find a song to dislike on Gemma Ray’s Island Fire; Emily deems The Very Best Of Vince Guaraldi and The Very Best Of The Bill Evans Trio as “essential” and praises Timi Yuro’s The Complete Liberty Singles as a “wonderful collection”; Paul explains why only hipsters hate hipsters; and Jemiah has good news for people who don’t know the difference between “grisly” and “grizzly” in her review of The Wrong Word Dictionary.
No Assemblog this week, folks. I’m going to be at FanExpo Canada all weekend. Dry your tears, Popshifter fans; I’ll be back next Friday. In the meantime, here are this week’s posts in case you missed them.
New this week on Popshifter: Chelsea compares fictional and real versions of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the movies; J Howell delves into the 20th Anniversary Edition of Los Lobos’ iconic album Kiko; and I review a few new releases: Maximo Park’s fun and frenetic The National Health, the retro rock riffs of Nude Beach’s II, and the wonderful Weird Wild World of Sleepies.
—Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor
New on Popshifter this week: reviews of the recently reissued Beginnings, Rick Springfield’s 1972 US debut album; Theresa Andersson’s latest album Street Parade; Beatles documentary Strange Fruit; The Apples in stereo’s Chris McDuffie’s solo release as Whitejacket, titled Hollows and Rounds; and The Ian Hunter Band’s Rockaplast concert on DVD.