The exhaustingly prolific Ty Segall has been earning a name for himself in San Francisco’s crowded lo-fi/psych/punk scene over the past few years with a string of noisy, mostly scattershot releases with an occasional glimpse of greatness. But that’s changing for the better. Like Wavves or the late Jay Reatard, to whom he’s often compared, most of Segall’s catalog is delivered in bratty, rapid-fire vocals with fuzzy guitars and clangorous drums, all leavened by hooks and bits of melody. Until recently, Segall’s recordings have been as much about experimental noise and psychedelic weirdness as they have been about punk energy. It hasn’t always been easy to find the songcraft in his records, but it has been there.
Goodbye Bread, one of two long-players Segall released last year, made things more clear. First, the sound quality is better than before. Second, the songwriting has taken a big leap forward. The title track is a stoner ballad, complete with a sudden vocal sweep up to high notes in the refrain. If you poke around online, you can find several videos of Segall playing the song solo. He tries it in slightly different styles, but he keeps the tempo slow to better show off the build-up to those high notes. He knows he’s got a winner. Even the rockers on Goodbye Bread, such as the wonderfully titled “You Make the Sun Fry,” are slower and more melodic than anything he’s done. That’s not to say that Segall has taken a turn toward mainstream rock...whatever that means in 2012. But after wallowing around in willful obscurity, suddenly Segall sounds like someone who could command huge audiences.
Mikal Cronin and The Feeling of Love also perform.
TY SEGALL: The Casbah, Sunday, March 4, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $12 advance; $14 day of show.