"Do you like Ty Segall?” “I probably would, but I wouldn’t know where to begin.” I’ve had multiple conversations that went roughly like that regarding the California rocker’s large and labyrinthine catalog, which swells well beyond 20 LPs if you include side projects, compilations and live albums. But that’s no reason to miss out on the man’s consistently worthwhile music—or his latest Las Vegas show, set for April 3 at the Bunkhouse. To save you some prep time, here are five record recommendations representative of Segall’s various phases.
Melted (2010) Among the early albums—a lo-fi garage-rock era that also produced 2008’s self-titled debut, 2009’s Lemons and 2011’s Goodbye Bread—this one sticks in my head the most thanks to individual earworms like “Girlfriend,” “Finger” and “My Sunshine.” Like most of Segall’s LPs, however, Melted is best absorbed in full, and songs that initially seem like filler might later become favorites.
Twins (2012) “I’m out on the streets, you know/I’m lookin’ for you.” That sinister lyric, the first words in leadoff track “Thank God for Sinners,” signalled the next interval in Segall’s career—an intense and frenetic one that inspired mosh pits during Vegas performances. Twins includes some of the best fuzzed-out material in the entire oeuvre (“You’re the Doctor,” “Inside Your Heart,” “Would You Be My Love,” “Ghost”), and if you still want more, head next to the Ty Segall Band’s 2012 album, Slaughterhouse.
Sleeper (2013) Okay, so this one’s basically a phase of its own. Following the death of his father—and his estrangement from his mother—Segall recorded this folky set short on guitar heroics and long on emotional impact. The opening title cut sets the moody mood, and the remainder continues the transportive experience, which sounds a bit like something Roy Harper or Fairport Convention might have recorded in 1970.
Fuzz (2013) Amazingly, just two months after the heartwrenching, mellow Sleeper, Segall released the debut album from his psych-rock outfit Fuzz, and the results couldn’t feel more different. Bashing away on drums—and still singing—while frequent collaborating drummer Charles Moothart handles lead guitar, Segall powers the band through heavy workouts ranging from frenzied (“Sleigh Ride”) to doomy (“What’s in My Head?”), all of which should appeal to Black Sabbath worshippers.
Freedom's Goblin (2018) Segall’s past few albums—2014’s Manipulator, 2016’s Emotional Mugger, last year’s eponymous LP—have showcased the diversity of their creator’s musical influences, and his most recent release finds him perfecting the art of absorption. From the Exile-era Stones-iness of the elegant “My Lady’s on Fire” to the Of Montreal cold-funk of “Despoiler of Cadaver” to the Crazy Horse guitar jamming of “And, Goodnight,” Segall digs through his record crates, borrowing and repurposing to create something all his own. Perhaps his finest album to date—and the one he’ll be showcasing Tuesday Downtown.
TY SEGALL with Sextile. April 3, 9 p.m., $15-$17. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764.