On the toes of a 10-week residency at the Teragram Ballroom and the release of his brand new album, First Taste, Psych/Garage Rock virtuoso Ty Segall came by the KCRW Studio for his 5th MBE Session! 5 sessions in almost as many years and something like 15 albums, not including albums from other bands he plays with and/or is a part of, Ty Segall is like a cosmic beam of pure rock-n-roll energy.
With his Freedom Band mates – Emmett Kelly, Ben Boye, Charles Moothart, Mikal Cronin and Shannon Lay – plus a deep set up with doubles of everything, from two drum kits and bass guitars to kotos, omnichords and bazukis, Segall played all new work from First Taste for almost 40 mins.
Although the new work is undeniably Ty Segall, the instrumental set up pushes the boundaries of the fuzzy, more traditional Garage sound into a hazy world psychedelic and proto-prog rock vibe. Like, for all the T.Rex and Stooges action and Hawkwind nods, now there’s a hint of Anatolian Rock reminiscent of Ersen and Erkin Koray.
A number of KCRW friends and colleagues watched the performance from the Mezzanine while absolutely face-melted and slack-jawed. I know for a fact that I was making a really gross stank face for most of the set because the grooves were so disgusting and the bass, drums, and SAX were gut churning. It was a beastly trip and I LITERALLY CANNOT emphasize this enough…GO SEE THEM.
They opened the set with a full on ripper, “Taste,” and followed it up by leaning into a loping, skronky groover “Whatever” before getting to the first of our live highlights, “Ice Plant.”
Possibly one of the loveliest tracks in this dude’s oeuvre, “Ice Plant,” which has serious Marc Bolan meets Syd Barrett in Strawberry Fields vibes, wistfully floats on a mellotron-ish mist of keys and Ooos and Aahs before exploding into a super glammy freak-out. Like finding a lit firecracker in your banana split.
The set kept steam rolling through everyone’s faces and guts with “The Fall” and “I Worship The Dog,” during and after which the preternaturally boy-faced Segall kept panting and occasionally barking. He’s a grown ass man, but so help me, if I could’ve, I would’ve pinched his cheeks. They then went into “The Arms” which is probably the most straight-ahead Psych/Garage tune they played, however the high pitched Bazuki phrases really lit the track up with Turkish Psych vibes that made me wanna lay down on the carpet and go for a ride. It was really, really nice.
The band kept in that mode with “I Sing Them” before closing with the seriously heady “Self Esteem,” which I imagine is what you’d get if you crash landed a plane on a desert island with a bunch of marching band kids and they had nothing to eat but psychedelics and Can and Yes records. It was a riot and made me wish I could watch it all over again immediately. Which I can. And you can too.