Best of What's Next: Ty Segall

Music Features Ty Segall
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Hometown: San Francisco
Album: Melted
For Fans Of: The Troggs, Black Lips, T. Rex

Ty Segall is frequently described as a “wunderkind,” and while the soon-to-be 23-year-old may be getting a bit old for the title, it’s still basically apt.

His musical output since 2008 is simply astounding: a stack of 7” records, a couple cassettes, a collaboration LP with Mikal Cronin of The Moonhearts, and four full-length albums including this spring’s Melted (and that’s to say nothing of all the other bands he’s played with, including Thee Oh Sees and Sic Alps).

Segall’s 2009 album Lemons came out on Goner Records and was a lo-fi garage affair full of the scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll that’s come to be expected from the label. He draws a clear influence from the psychedelic weirdos of years past (marked by his cover of Captain Beefheart’s “Dropout Boogie”) but Melted clears out some of that fuzz. “I definitely think it’s a little cleaner,” Segall says of the new record. “I was trying to shoot for something a little different than Lemons, and I didn’t know what that was or what we were going for until it was done.”

On Melted, he messes with a number of styles and sounds (grunge, garage, psych and pop), but tempers his frenzy on lead single “Caesar,” which finds him playing an acoustic guitar and slowing down the tempo a bit. “It started out as a punk song,” he said. “I had the idea of slowing it down to half speed. It has this T. Rex kind of vibe.” It begins as an acoustic slow jam, and then—sure enough—turns into a Marc Bolan boogie that gets Segall singing in a cool, controlled falsetto.

Segall doesn’t mind being tagged as a “garage” act, but he prefers the more straightforward label of “rock ‘n’ roll.” For all the Troggs, Beefhearts, Zappas and Bolans in his listening rotation, there are some some more traditional rock touchstones, too. “I’m way into Kiss,” he admits. “Way into Kiss. I saw them the day before Thanksgiving with my mom and my sister. It ruled. They had explosions and blood and fire and lasers—it was so cool.”