Dive into the sunny psychedelic world of Ty Segall at Echoplex on Thursday
As a lad growing up in sun-kissed Laguna Beach, future garage rock hero Ty Segall was weaned on a healthy diet of rock 'n' roll oldies, a formative influence that would later feed his own creative efforts, which will be on display at Echoplex on Thursday. "It's funny," the 23-year-old rocker said last week during a phone interview, "when you're really young, you don't look at the Kingsmen or the Kinks as garage. That kind of stuff was oldies."
By the time he turned 14, Segall had discovered punk rock, taking inspiration from the rebellious music of bands like the Misfits, the Ramones and Minor Threat. But it wasn’t until he moved to San Francisco in 2005 that he discovered psychedelic music, a mind-bending, mellowing influence that has been a part of his musical soul ever since.
“I got obsessed with the 13th Floor Elevators, which made me dive head first into that kind of stuff,” he said. “I was 18 when I heard ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me.’ That song is a gateway drug, because it’s totally a garage song, it’s totally just like the Kinks… but the way they recorded it was psychotic-sounding. I feel like that’s the difference. Because a lot of psychedelic bands, the riffs are pretty similar to a straightforward garage song, but then they got really weird in the studio.”
That combination of grungy, plainspoken lyrical themes and unfettered, experimental instrumentation set Segall on a path that led to his most recent and penultimate studio album, “Melted,” which was released by Memphis, Tenn., indie label Goner Records last year. The hardworking musician, who has three other full-lengths and a horde of singles to his credit, played with at least five bands before going solo, but “Melted” represents a bold step forward in his ambitions and resources.
“Every other time I tried to make a record, it’s been like, ‘OK, we gotta do everything in four days,’ ” said Segall. But this time, thanks to a friend’s recently completed basement studio, he had the luxury of taking three months to record the album. “I’ve never really had any money to record, always trying to do it on the cheap, do it fast. But this time... it was really cool, because it was working with your buddy, and having no time constraints, and having really good gear.”
The result, a jubilant, reverb-drenched tapestry of catchy and crafted songs that utilize unexpected elements such as piano solos and flute interludes, moves away from the budget rock aesthetic of many of Segall’s earlier recordings to embrace a more polished rock 'n' roll approach -- and, at times, a downright pop one too.
Eric Friedl, founding member of the seminal Memphis garage-rock band the Oblivians and Goner Records’ co-owner –- who will follow up “Melted” by releasing a double-record compilation of Segall’s singles later this year –- is delighted to be working with the ambitious up-and-comer. “He’s all over the place,” he said. “And we’re thrilled, because every time we talk to him he has so many ideas. From one moment to the next, he just comes up with so much stuff. It’s almost exhausting for us.”
Never one to rest on his laurels, Segall is about to embark on a two-month tour that will take him cross-country and back, concluding in Austin, Texas, for the SXSW music showcase. Catch his candy-colored bag of pop hooks and gleeful distortion when he visits the Echoplex with Monotonix, Devin Therriault and Tijuana Panthers on Thursday.
Listen to “Girlfriend,” from Melted, below:
-- Jason Gelt
Ty Segall at Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park, Thursday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.
Photo: Ty Segall (center). Credit: Denee Petracek