Album Picks: Ty Segall Band, Diiv, Flaming Lips, A Place to Bury Strangers

Posted by Billy Gil, June 26, 2012 06:09pm | Post a Comment
ty segall band slaughterhouseSo much great stuff was released today. First of all, Ty Segall Band's Slaughterhouse is blowing my mind right now. When I talked to Ty Segall earlier this year, he said he’d be releasing an album with his backing band that would sound like “totally heavy, fuzzed-out Sabbath, Blue Cheer-like noise rock kinda stuff.” Turns out that was no bullshit; Slaughterhouse, the second of three planned releases this year from Segall, is a pure blast, and might be his best record yet. Opener “Death” starts out with squealing feedback like Nirvana’s “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” or The Vaselines’ “Son of a Gun” before tearing into a yes, very Nirvana-esque blast of heavy, melodic guitar pop. You’re just going to want to track back and listen again the second it’s over. It’s just so much fun to listen to because Segall knows just when to unleash, firing furious riffery at the very end of “I Bought My Eyes.” His keen sense of what works and what does extends past the concepts of hooks and choruses, as the minute-and-a-half screamery of the title track is one of the most memorable pieces on the album. But you’ll still be humming the weird melodies of songs like “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” and “Muscle Man” because they find something fresh within seemingly well-worn territory. (The CD is out now; preorder the LP, due July 17, here.)

Of course I’m also a sucker for the debut album Oshin from Diiv, from Beach Fossils’ Zachary Cole. I am a huge fan of Beach Fossils’ spindly guitar pop, and Diiv is like a dreamier version of that, though they are their own entity, to be sure. Diiv represents the blurred line between early dream pop, awash with the kind of shoegazey aesthetics employed by Cocteau Twins and The Cure, and the sort of intricate guitar pop fashioned by bands like Felt and The Smiths. The result is a hugely enjoyable collection of lush melodies and guitar soundscapes in which to get lost, such as the expansive “Past Lives,” which feels much grander than its nimble two-and-a-half minutes. The centerpiece on this album is “How Long Have You Known,” a master class in economic songwriting — one simple, loping riff with minimal window dressing and direct lyrics that don’t say much but imply a sea of longing and wonder, given their gorgeous setting and rare sincerity.

a place to bury strangers worship
A Place to Bury Strangers
continue to create the kind of head-splitting noise pop that moves you from within on Worship. True to form, songs like "Mind Control" update the cool demeanor and screaming sonics of bands like The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, boosted by having effects whiz Oliver Ackermann lead the band, whose self-made pedals emit such wonderful squalls that he sells them to other musicians. When the band peals back some of the layers of sound, they become an even more powerful, more dynamic machine, on songs like the slinking "You Are the One," the slow building “Dissolved” and especially the gothed-out showcase that is the title track, an Everest on an album full of high, sharp peaks.

flaming lips and heady fwends
Also, The Flaming Lips' Record Store Day release, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, was given a wide release today. True to form, Heady Fwends hits hard, as the Flaming Lips don't tend to do anything half-assed — this is a band that once produced a four-disc album meant to be played simultaneously on four stereo systems, after all. Though it’s a sprawling release of collaborations with artists as disparate as Ke$ha and Lightning Bolt, The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends sounds like a logical step in their evolution, following the similar (and similarly rewarding) dream-logic assemblage of their previous album, Embryonic. Each track brings something new or something exciting out of both parties, whether it’s the thrill of hearing pop artists like Coldplay’s Chris Martin weird out on a reverb-ed out Beatles homage of sorts, or Yoko Ono return to her most aggressively primitive. Their collaboration with Erykah Badu produces what you call a perfect cover. The 10-minute faded out grandeur of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” brings something new to the song and perfectly fits the nostalgic melodrama of the original. It’s like a beautiful nightmare. For their part, the Flaming Lips’ songwriting and performance is at its peak, particularly on the touching if dubiously titled “Helping the Retarded to Know God,” featuring a possibly embarrassed but along for the ride Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes.
Also Out Today:
Hero’s Dose
So Cal. band Infantree upgrade their folk-tinged sound with fine production and loads of atmosphere on their latest release, featuring warm vocal harmonies and folksy soundscapes reminiscent of the Beach Boys, Neil Young and Fleet Foxes.

paul banks
Paul Banks
Julian Plenti Lives…
After 2009’s Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper, this is the first solo album released under the Interpol frontman’s own name, featuring the bittersweet “Summertime is Coming.”

beachwood sparks tarnished gold
The Beachwood Sparks
The Tarnished Gold
The L.A. indie/alt-country band returns with its first release in a decade, showing their gorgeous melodic style hasn’t tarnished a bit over the years.

chain & the gang
Chain & The Gang
In Cool Blood
Ian Svenonius returns with more meta garage rock that’s as brainy as it is nasty.

everest ownerless
Harmonic guitar pop with serious ’70s chops. The dreamy “Raking Me Over the Coals” is like newly panned AM radio gold.

L’Enfant Sauvage
The French metal band’s fifth album skitters and teters with fast, heavy but tuneful riffage.

joe jackson the duke
Joe Jackson
The Duke
Classic singer-songwriter returns with a bold album of jazz great Duke Ellington covers, featuring guest spots from Steve Vai, Sharon Jones and Iggy Pop.

Mars Audiac Quintet
An absolute classic from Stereolab gets reissued on LP, featuring some of their best towers of kitschy, krautrocky, building-block sound, including “Three-Dee Melodie,” “Wow and Flutter,” and “Ping Pong.”

Relevant Tags

Paul Banks (1), Infantree (1), The Beachwood Sparks (1), Coldplay (9), Ke$ha (5), The Flaming Lips (13), A Place To Bury Strangers (12), Diiv (12), Ty Segall (40), Everest (4), Chain And The Gang (1), Gojira (1), Joe Jackson (5), Stereolab (3)