Ty Segall Review: Manipulator

Ty Segall


Ty Segall Manipulator album cover art

Dude has pretty much the same name as Steven Seagal. I’ll just let that soak in for a second.


The difference is that Steven Seagal wields a pool cue and delivers via bad acting, whereas Ty Segall wields either a guitar, a drum set, or a mic, and delivers on every single album. By every album I mean seven official solo albums in so many years. Plus releases with Fuzz, Ty Segall Band, splits with Mikal Cronin and White Fence, playing in Epsilons, Party Fowl, The Traditional Fools, The Perverts, Sic Alps, plus about a million 7″ singles and live compilations. Let’s just say for all intensive purposes that Ty Segall is the busiest man in rock these days.

With such a prolific output, you’d expect some missteps somewhere. To me, I sure haven’t heard any. His early stuff was inventive, Fuzz was loud, Ty Segall Band was dark, and each of his solo albums is completely unique. I even love Epsilons and The Traditional Fools for some killer lo-fi garage rock. Maybe you could also say Ty Segall is the most consistent man in rock these days.

With Manipulator, as with every one of his releases, I’m waiting for the dud album. I’m expecting something exactly the same. Maybe just a plain disappointment like The Black Keys piece of crap release this year. Yet every year, fans like me are guaranteed a fresh, new sound on a monster album from Ty Segall. He went acoustic on his last gem of an album Sleeper, and this time, he went trippy.

Manipulator is about as psychedelic rock as Ty has gotten since Goodbye Bread in 2011. This time, he pushed the envelope further, with 17 songs stretching far and wide on the genre and timbre spectrums. Reverb-soaked vocals, droning riffs, and chiming hammond organ lines bring you back to the Summer of Love on “Mister Main” and “Manipulator.” Then in comes “It’s Over” and “Feel” with roaring guitars and growling bass, taking you right back the garage rock monoliths of our modern musical era. Toss in some fuzzed-out numbers, a little acoustic guitar, maybe some glam, even a little metal, and top it off with some pop-laden melodies, and you’ve just had the Manipulator experience.

There’s no denying that this thing is all over the map, but it somehow manages to be cohesive. It’s a far cry from last year’s release Sleeper, and proves that Ty Segall isn’t slowing down anytime soon. And that’s certainly a good thing. I caught him in Denver behind the kit for the Fuzz show last year, and let me just state for the record I saw the whole band in front of a sushi place, prepared to get a string of high fives, then peed my pants a little and hid in a bar. Beer drinking and peeing aside, he was still playing the tiny Hi Dive venue where I’d first seen him supporting Melted back in 2010. Now he’s coming back this fall poised to fill the much larger Bluebird Theatre following a little more media buzz than usual. It seems like all of his hard work is starting to pay off. Excellent, keep those great tunes coming.


Can’t Miss: “Feel”, “It’s Over”, “Mister Main”

Can’t Hit: none


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