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Dream Boys Usher in Fall with Autumnal Debut

Posted by Billy Gil, October 1, 2013 03:31pm | Post a Comment

There’s nothing to signify the leaves changing color the wind getting crisper than some cool jangly rock ‘n’ roll. L.A.’s Dream Boys deliver that in spades on their self-titled debut (check it out on CD or LP). Songs like “Sometimes” breeze through with shimmering guitars and sweet, swoony harmonies, calling to mind a post-punk Byrds or Southern Californian Stone Roses. Few bands dig into this sound so thoroughly, with a wonderfully patient, languid quality, making Dream Boys a standout record even among a crowded field.

I sat down for a minute to talk to these dreamy So. Cal. boys about their somnambulist sound.

PST: It’s hard to find out much about you guys from the Internet! Why don't you just tell me in brief about yourselves—when did you form, why did you form, who does what in the band, and are you native Angelenos or from other parts?

Wayne Faler: We formed a little over a year ago. There are three songwriters. Band members are Wayne Faler and Wallace Meek on guitars and vocals, Will Ivy on bass and vocals, and Mike La Franchi on drums. Mike is from the Northern California. Wallace is from Scotland, Wayne is from Michigan, and Will is a Southwest guy via San Francisco. We formed the band after meeting while playing in other bands. We wanted to combine a certain set of influences that really spoke to us and present them in a more modern way.

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Ty Segall's Flying Circus to Blow Through L.A.

Posted by Billy Gil, March 1, 2012 02:30pm | Post a Comment
In a short amount of time, Ty Segall has provided us with so much musical goodness in the recorded form that it’s hard to believe he’ll be releasing two (well, two-and-a-half-ish) albums this year. He’ll release a mini album on In the Red in June under Ty Segall Band, recorded with his touring band, which includes Charlie Moothart guitar (“He’s a complete shredder and dominator, he taught me everything I know about playing guitar,” Segall says), Mikal Cronin on bass and Emily Epstein on drums. The record will be mixed in Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios — where Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded, Segall points out — and recorded with Eric Bauer, who has recorded with Segall several times, including his most recent studio album, 2011’s Goodbye Bread.

A regular full-length also is due on Drag City under his own name in the fall. On top of all that, he’s releasing a collaboration LP with White Fence on Drag City in April, which he’s currently touring behind. Ty Segall and White Fence appear together March 3 at the Troubador.

I took some time to speak to Ty, who’s S.F.-based but was born in Laguna Beach, about his upcoming tours, release schedule, and how many songs he’s recorded.


PST: Last year, around the time Goodbye Bread was released, you said you wanted the next album to sound like Satan in Space, Hawkwind meets Sabbath and that sorta thing. Is that the direction the new material has ended up taking?

Segall: Well, there’s a couple different directions. This is really fun for me because this new record with White Fence I did is not that. It’s like totally weird new thing that Tim (Presley, of White Fence) and I kind of did. It doesn’t sound like either one of us, and it definitely doesn’t sound like [the earlier description]. It sounds pretty all over the place. It sounds almost like a mixtape, almost like a weird comp of some kind, which I’m way into. Working with Tim was great because we both bring something totally different to the table.

There’s this record I’m gonna be recording starting [in February], and that’s totally heavy, fuzzed-out Sabbath, Blue Cheer-like noise rock kinda stuff. Which is rad. And I’m doing that with the whole band. It’s kind of more how we sound live than a lot of the records sound. That’s the weird, heavy, fuzzed-out record. And then I’m working on another one that’s gonna come out in September/October on Drag City. It’s not as heavy or punk or anything. It’s still loud fast rock ’n’ roll. It’s kind of channeling these three different things in these records.

PST: You seem pretty prolific. Is there a steady flow to your songwriting? How often do you write?

Segall: I kind of write whenever I can at home. A lot of the stuff is really bad. I throw away most of the stuff I write, to be honest. I try to write a song a day. If you write 10 songs, there’s gonna be one of them you think is pretty OK that you’ll keep around. That’s kind of my rule. A lot of times you’ll have a riff and it’s like, I’m gonna toss this riff.

PST: If you had to guess, how many songs have you written? How many bands have you been in?

Segall: Aw man, I don’t even know! There are 12 songs on average per record, I’d probably say I’ve released 180-200 songs. There are about 300 throwaway songs that will never see the light of day.

PST: You’d never release them in some form?

Segall: No way. They’re bad, man. They’re real bad. Like me trying things that are out of my comfort zone. It’s like, yeah, there’s a reason it’s out of your comfort zone, man.

PST: Goodbye Bread saw you trim the fuzz a bit. Should we expect the sound to continue to get cleaner and/or more focused, or is it more that that’s just what you happened to want to do then?

Segall: Definitely not cleaner. I think, no maybe you could say it’s recorded better, because Eric [Bauer], who recorded Goodbye Bread, got a new tape machine and it’s technically more high-fidelity. I don’t think it’s cleaner. We’re just using it in different ways. It’s definitely not part of that trajectory. It’s a totally different thing that’s not following that path. It’s a whole different thing, you know what I mean? Which is what I like doing. I like starting over for each record. To be honest I’m not the best at explaining where my head is when I’m making my records. The main idea is to make something different than before and make something that is better. Hopefully better.

… The Drag City release will be more song-focused than fuzz-focused. It’s kind of like the left and right sides of your brains. One is getting really loud and fucked up live and try to sonically hurt people. Like hurt their ears. And that’s something I want to achieve. And the other side is trying to write songs. … I had to get the band that I’m playing with in the studio because I really do feel like they’re a special group of people. We gotta record them because I feel so lucky to be playing with them. … Everybody rips so hard. And it’s totally different than on record. So I’m just super psyched to have them make a record.

PST: As far as the White Fence collaboration goes, how did that come about? And how will those live shows with the two of you play out — one at a time, and then together or something like that?

Segall: I just asked him, dude, we gotta do a record together man. I was like, I bet you I could get Drag City to do it. And they were like, yeah man, just go ahead and do it, and when it’s done, we’ll do it. So Tim came up like four diff occasions for two days, and we just wrote a lot of songs together and already had two each. It was super fast and really fun. He’s just insane at what he does, and it was really cool to have a different perspective on songwriting and push you to do things you’re not used to doing. He plays guitar like Jimi Hendrix, man. He’s a psychotic guitar player. … We’re basically gonna pick two or three of our favorite songs from the record and maybe play it in the middle of my set, Tim’s just gonna walk up and play it in my set, but it’s basically gonna be White Fence set and then my set after, and then in the middle of it we’re gonna play two or three songs from the record.

PST: When did you start playing music? What was your first band?

Segall: I started when I was like 15. I started playing drums. My first band was this like no wave dancepunk band called Love This. (laughs) We only played house parties. It was a ridiculous band. And Mikal Cronin was in that band. He played saxophone.

PST: I loved the Ty Rex mini album (a six-song T. Rex cover EP, released last year for Record Store Day). Would you do another for another artist?

Segall: Yeah man. Totally. I don’t know which artist. It’s not on the top of my agenda right now. I’d like to do a Bowie one. … Basically I tried to think of the most ridiculous thing I could think of that you’re not supposed to do. … It was like really fucking scary, man. You’re not supposed to do that. I think it turned out pretty good. I tried to do like 10 songs, but I ran out of time.

PST: Speaking of covers, I also really like the “Bullet Proof Nothing” [by Simply Saucer] cover you did and the Sabbath cover I saw you play in Eagle Rock last year. What covers are you playing lately live? Or would that ruin it?

Segall: We don’t really have any new covers. Usually we just throw in a couple of things — we covered “The End” by The Doors the other day. I haven’t figured that out yet. But hopefully something will come. Something ridiculous. I wanna cover that song “Moonage Daydream.”

Ty’s World
Ty Segall has some seven albums, two splits LPs, nine EPs/45”s, five split EPs and countless collaborations to his name, in addition to the albums he’ll release this year. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best releases from Ty and his collaborators.
 
Ty Segall SinglesSingles 2007-2010
 (2011, Goner)

A great overview of his records, singles et al. and as good a place as any to start with Segall’s catalog. It’s also a great place to pick up non-album tracks, like his screamy, nasty cover of OG punks Chain Gang’s “Son of Sam.”






Goodbye Bread
(2011, Drag City)

His most put-together record, aided by slightly cleaner production and slower tempos, which allow his hooks to shine through. Segall taps into late-era Beatles territory in songs like the spare title track and glam rock with the terrific “You Make the Sun Fry.”




 
ty segall meltedMelted
(2010, Goner)

As usual, Melted sports a variety of sounds, from sludgy rockers (the title track) to Beatles-esque folk rock (“Caeasar”), but it feels like his most cohesive and well-considered release to this point. And it has perhaps Segall’s catchiest song yet — the acidic “Girlfriend.”






Ty Segall LemonsLemons (2009, Goner)

 
Psych-folk adds to the lineup of rockers for a rough-and-tumble set. Maybe his most psychedelic record.







Ty Segall Ty SegallTy Segall
(2008, Revolver)

This is lo-fi rock ’n’ roll at its finest. Like early White Stripes or Jay Reatard, it’s raw and unpolished in the best way possible, but you never get the sense he’s just dicking around — there are great tunes under the din.







Horn the UnicornHorn the Unicorn (originally released on tape in 2008; reissued in 2010 on Captcha Records)

Segall’s first solo release wears its influences more proudly on its sleeve, from the Nuggetsy organ on songs like “Apples” and “Skin” to the old school punk of “Shoot Me in the Head” to the T. Rex stomp of “Can’t Talk to You.” If it’s less cohesive than other releases, it shows the scope of what Segall would undertake with future releases.



Mikal CroninMikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin
(2011, Trouble in Mind)

This beautiful psych-pop record from Segall’s longtime friend and collaborator was released last year and was a little too slept-on for my taste. A great and tuneful rock record with some gloriously heavy moments (“Green and Blue”).





White FenceWhite Fence – Is Growing Faith
(2011, Woodsist)

Super weird psych-pop from Segall’s current collaborator. “And By Always” sounds like a C86 tape left in the wash, while “Enthusiasm” makes compelling listening out of hearing a catchy garage-rock song try to escape the copious noise piled atop it. Recommended for fans of Elephant 6, ’80s college rock, weirdo garage rock — everyone, really.

Album Picks: Veronica Falls, Björk, Zola Jesus

Posted by Billy Gil, October 12, 2011 12:29pm | Post a Comment
Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
 
While listening to Irish Grimestep or whatever genre happens to be unfathomably cool at the moment is great and all, sometimes you need meat and potatoes. In my case, that would be C86, shoegaze, college rock and that sort of thing, and Slumberland Records keeps serving up bands like sloppy joes that fulfill this particular hunger. Their latest band is Veronica Falls, which, despite their late-‘90s CW Network show sounding name, are actually a great garage pop band in the vein of Slumberland alumn Crystal Stilts, Girls Names and Black Tambourine. “Right Side of My Brain’s” bouncy pop gets C86 so right that it could have been on the original tape that spawned that genre. “The Fountain” is delectable guitar goth pop that displays one of the band’s best and at first easily overlooked tricks — pristine harmonies. “Beachy Head” injects a welcome bit of surf-rock meanness to an otherwise well-mannered album. It’s pretty much candy all over.
 
Björk – Biophilia
 
With all the hubbub surrounding Björk’s latest album (corresponding iPad apps to songs, a street date delay and rejiggering of sound), it may be easy to dismiss the album beneath it all. That would be a shame, because Biophilia is as brilliant as anything in Björk’s catalog, but that brilliance is quieter and takes repeated listens to understand compared with some of her previous efforts. Whereas she tried to recreate the violently happy turns of Debut and Post in 2007’s Volta, here she’s back to forging new sonic territory, using newly invented instruments (such as the gameleste, which combines Indonesian gamelan instruments with the key-based celeste instrument) and employing iPad-made music and programmed beats. Of course, none of that matters if it doesn’t end up sounding great, and you probably don’t need to know any of that to enjoy the songs on Biophilia, but it helps to understand the otherworldly nature of a song like “Crystalline,” which relies on the strange gameleste to build atmosphere before breaking into a hyper-intense hardcore breakbeat section. That that song and “Cosmogony,” a musical cousin to Björk classics like “Isobel” and “Bachelorette” that builds beautifully before disintegrating into a sea of descending vocals, are the most accessible songs tells you more. At its core, Biophilia is a wildly strange, even disturbing album, from the dissonant and gibberish-laden “Dark Matter” to the blood-curdling electronic sounds and ghostly vocals of “Hollow.” Then there’s “Mutual Core,” in which Björk tosses her fans a bone (although one on which the meat is tough and sinewy) with more typically “Björk” musical movements and more overtly clubby beats. But there’s something new to uncover with each listen, despite a somewhat hollow-sounding veneer, such as unusual time signatures, haunting lyrics and hidden, loping melodies. Biophilia really sounds nothing like anything else Björk has done, or anything anyone else has done, for that matter, and will probably upset some fans and detractors alike. For its gutsiness alone, it’s great; and for its more inspired moments, it’s something no music fan should miss hearing.
 
Zola Jesus – Conatus
 
For those who were expecting Zola Jesus aka Nika Roza Danilova turn around from last year’s winning Stridulum II with an album of glossy pop, think again. Sure, Conatus is her most accessible statement yet, but the album is still teaming with the experimental electronic music and ethereal vocals on which she built her name, only with slightly more of an emphasis on the electro balladry she exhibited so well on Stridulum’s “Night” and “Lightstick.” “Hikikomori” begins with throbbing synths and Danilovato’s yearning vocals intoning “blisters on my hands,” underpinned by subtle strings. On this track and several others on Conatus, you can hear the effort Danilova has put into carefully considering the album’s every movement, building songs gradually and deliberately, pulling at the heartstrings but always from afar, sometimes coming through clearly, sometimes unintelligible in a vocal styling reminiscent of Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. Her best songs manage to do it all at once, such as in the soaring “Seekir,” in which she aims for the gut (“Is there nothing left of the mess we made?” she asks in a moment that clears the sonic din to cut through) as well as the dance floor, although the result, with intertwining, ghostly backup vocals, is too complex to simply label a dance song. You sometimes long for more moments like that on Conatus (the epic choral build of “Lick The Palm Of The Burning Handshake” being another), but its balancing act of restraint and putting it all out there makes for intriguing listening that will keep fans happy and pull in plenty of new ones.
 

Forget Chillwave; Wild Nothing's 'Gemini' is Heartfelt Dream Pop

Posted by Aaron Detroit, June 3, 2010 02:00pm | Post a Comment
Wild Nothing Gemini
Chillwave” in 2010 is as embarassing a genre tag as “Shoegaze” or “Grunge” was in 1991. It sounds more like a vile blue-colored slushy drink from a convenience store than a musical genre. I feel bad for the contemporary Dream Pop bands that have to endure being cast as such. Chillwave is the new Nu-Rave, i.e., nothing more than loosely similar bands being forced into corners by lazy bedroom bloggers. While many young bands, as of late, have been heavily borrowing sonic textures, recording aesthetics, and ideas from those bleary bands of the late ‘80’s and early 90’s, Virginia’s one-man band of Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, has succeeded in making a record that pings the right amount of lilting and forlorn nostalgia via its familiar Dream Pop haze yet is complex enough not to fatigue attentive ears. Gemini, released this week, has all the shimmer of early Cocteau Twins, the bounce of mid-era Cure, and the rough charm of a C86-era mixtape. This is the sort of record I wish Beach House would make.

Gemini’s success as a great Dream Pop album is also highlighted by what it is lacking. Tatum avoids the cloying cutsey tweeness of last year’s retro-darlings The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and instead delivers a breezy melancholy. Sincerity is a breath of fresh air here as well -- while essentially postmodern because of its pastiche, Gemini obviously springs from Tatum’s heart, carefully avoiding the irony so many young bands rely on and hide behind. On the slow-crawl of “Pessimist,” Tatum wears it on his sleeve with the line “Boys Don’t Cry/They Just Die” without a hint of a grin. However, the album is never oppressive or dreary, even when Tatum is bummed out; it truly is a great feat to make a record that plays perfectly on a summer drive to the beach or home alone on a rainy day.


Wild Nothing’s Gemini is available from Amoeba Music Hollywood now on CD, with hopefully some LPs forthcoming. Make sure to pick up Wild Nothing’s 7” single Cloudbusting as well for Tatum’s heartfelt lo-fi rendering of the Kate Bush classic.