For the past week or two I kept seeing this band, and this song, pop up and I kept passing it over because I could have sworn that I already posted about this track. But then I finally got un-lazy and actually checked (it took all of 5 seconds, but only because I tried “east link” AND “eastlink”), and realized that I haven’t written about this track yet. I really wish that I had, because this is a rocker that should not go overlooked. Just think of how ahead of the curve I could have been.
Australia’s Eastlink just released their first full-length on In The Red. This band is going strong with four guitars, Diarrhea Planet style. Completely overdriven, out of control and thrashing through this blistering four-minute track. The track is about half-buildup, promptly focusing its attention toward one unrelenting riff and intense vocals. I’m actually having a hard time trying to figure out if I am comfortable going with the “kraut-rock” label. I think that just because of the sheer volume and intensity, that doesn’t even try to hold back or express restraint in any way, that this is certainly not kraut-rock. It’s a whole lot of sound coming out of your speakers, trying its best to completely obliterate them.
Tuesday: More music from the endlessly prolific Ty Segall. This tune coming from his latest project, Fuzz. The 7″ single also features a track by CCR Headcleaner with all proceeds from digital download sales going to help music education programs in schools.
First of all let’s just get out of the way that the opening guitar chords that jerkily shift up and down the fretboard sound an awful lot like (read: exactly like) those of “Bubblegum,” the Kim Fowley track that I, and I’m sure many others, came to know through the Sonic Youth cover that appeared as a bonus track on the CD version of their 1986 release, “Evol.” Well, this is a cover too. Ty & Co. are offering up “Till The End of the Day,” originally by The Kinks. Ty and crew definitely do their best to soup it up as much as possible.
I’m glad that Ty is continuing to release more stuff with Fuzz. He’s really been tearing it up lately, and I think this incarnation of his writing process is his best yet. Similar garage rock sound, but Fuzz moves more toward the stoner-ish, jammy end of the spectrum due to Charlie Moothart’s virtuosic interjections, than his solo stuff (which has been more on the sad-bastard side of things lately). “Till The End of the Day” is a two minute barn-burner blasting through your speakers at light speed and never stopping to rest.
The B-side to this limited 7″ release features the slow, enveloping sound of CCR Headcleaner. Their track “Free the Freaks” stomps through with a mix of distorted guitars with clean steel strings in equal measure; with requisite vocals buried below the surface and left to echo in the distance.
The 7″ is available for order now for $6.60, while the 2 tracks are available as a download for “name your own price.” Don’t be cheap, and here is why:
100% of the digital proceeds going to the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund at VH1 Save the Music – a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in America’s public schools.
I know that I’ve at least mentioned this album in passing before during past posts, but now that I have finally had the chance to actually sit down and listen to it a few times I figure that it would be a good time to actually talk a bit about it.
Ty Segall, famous for being almost comically prolific, releasing several albums a year, usually with at least a few different bands, has released an album with his newest band Fuzz that features Ty on drums while retaining vocal duties. This, actually, isn’t the only thing that Fuzz will release by the end of the year. In addition to this self-titled debut release they’ve put out two 7″(1, 2) and then there is a live album that just came out this week, recorded in San Francisco at the Eagle, Ty’s home base, for his birthday in which Fuzz, along with Total Control, opened for Thee Oh Sees.
In that teaser one can hear Ty being barely able to contain his excitement when drumming, as the pulse ebbs and flows with each verse and chorus, but Mootheart and bassist Roland Cosio follow Ty’s lead.
And though the garage elements of Ty’s music will surely never go away, they are part of who he is, I think that Charlie Mootheart’s guitar style and tone adds a bit more of a Black Sabbath, early classic rock vibe to all of the tracks. His thick, bonecrushing, distorted guitar tone is way up front on this one. It seems that for the most part, despite Ty being center stage, that Mootheart is actually the “frontman.” His endless and effortless solo work merges seamlessly with his duties as rhythm guitarist. Sometimes, for example on the opening track “Earthen Gate,” he can take the entire song in an unexpected direction, and with a simple harmonic shift pulls the band in a completely different direction.
Though similar in certain ways to Ty’s “Slaughterhouse” album, the hard-driving energy blast that propels these songs takes them out of the territory of sludge in which many of the tracks of “Slaughterhouse” seemed to live. The energy is directed, while the overall sound is allowed to remain more or less raw. The solid guitar work is underpinned with Ty’s explosive drum fill blasts that pop up at every opportunity.
I’d say that this album falls squarely into the category of stoner rock, if that even means anything. But, seriously, nothing screams “sitting in a dimly lit basement bedroom with a group of friends surrounding a bong” than that album cover art. Steady, straight ahead, heavy garage thrash. Stoner blues as I’ve read it described elsewhere online. Songs like “Hazemaze” sound like a few dudes just jamming on 4 chords. Power chords in the verse, solo riffs in the chorus. Simple formula, but contrasting a staid verse with an unhinged chorus is something that works, just ask Thee Oh Sees. In “Hazemaze” Ty gets a chance to really stretch out and show off his drum chops, wildly filling in any and all empty spaces between sections. Another track, like a combination of “Hazemaze” and “Earthen Gate,” “Loose Sutures” takes the 4 chord jam to surprising territory in the verse, and to an honest shredding guitar solo that really allows Mootheart to let loose for a while before giving Ty another shot.
Probably my favorite of Ty’s releases to date. From the classic rock guitar stylings that are brought out more than on any of his other projects, to the more direct and punishing material like “Preacher,” this is really a bit different than anything that Ty has been involved with, though not too different. It’s not like anyone is going to listen to this album and be surprised that it’s a Ty Segall album, but if one is to listen closely it’s Ty’s music coming to us from a different angle. Worth a listen or two, which you can do with the handy youtube video below. You can also head over to Midheaven Mail Order to purchase “Fuzz.”
Kurt Vile, whom I talked about not at all that long ago releases a follow up “Walkin on a Pretty Daze” from earlier this year. “It’s a big world out there (and I’m scared)” comes out today on Matador. You can listen to the breezy track above. This is a 12″ release, but isn’t a full album, instead “It’s a big world…” is an EP with some reworkings and a few new songs. I prefer this way of staying in the spotlight and staying relevant, getting people to pay attention to your music by constantly creating it. I wish that Arcade Fire would get the hint.
“Feel My Pain” sounds like something that could have very easily fit into “Walkin…” with its fingerpicked acoustic guitar and super laid back vocals. This stays completely within Vile’s aesthetic, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially for someone like Vile, who already doesn’t sound like anyone else.
I also wanted to bring your attention to Ty Segall’s new band, or newest…or maybe they aren’t his newest band anymore, because its been a few months and he could very easily have joined a dozen or more bands in the interim. But anyway, his newest project is called Fuzz, and yes, it’s pretty much exactly what one would expect from Ty at this point. Loud garage rock from San Francisco. He pretty much embodies this sound now.
The latest video begins more like a short film than a performance video, with Ty and Fuzz guitarist Charlie Mootheart loading up their van after a set-up shot that featured the clarinet opening from Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” We get a sampling of the super distorted rumbling of the band’s sound before the video focuses a bit on non-musical material before we finally get the performance.
The band’s sound lies somewhere between pure punk rock and a latter day Black Sabbath. The classic rock and blues influences are strong in Mootheart’s riffs and harmonizing with the bass, locking down a strong groove, with Ty on drums, no less. Is there anything that dude can’t do?
I was lucky enough to catch these guys back in July, in San Francisco, opening for Thee Oh Sees. Their energy was intense and didn’t fade at all throughout the set. I’m hoping that Ty keeps this around for at least a few minutes and puts out a few albums before moving on to something else. But I guess that only time will tell.