Release Date: Feb 4, 2014
Record label: Castle Face
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Punk, Indie Rock
Ty Segall pushed the boundaries of his songwriting and his stylistic eclecticism on 2014's splendid Manipulator, but while that album suggested Segall could go practically anywhere he wanted creatively, there's clearly a part of the guy that just wants to turn up the amps and rock, and that man sounds like he's having a blast on Live in San Francisco, Segall's installment in the series of concert recordings released by John Dwyer's Castle Face label. This set is credited to the Ty Segall Band, the lineup that recorded 2012's monstrously loud Slaughterhouse; this live set isn't as seismic as that studio album, but it honestly rocks even harder and generates a tremendous supply of ear-kicking fun. Segall and his bandmates were not afraid to stomp on their fuzz pedals or let loose with gales of feedback on this particular night, and though the melodic strength of Segall's songs is still audible, the swaggering impact of the band's performance is the thing here, and even on plastic the over-the-top energy connects like a baseball bat meeting a fastball.
Pity the poor live album. In the era of streaming video, smartphones, and extensive fan-driven digital archiving, their utility has diminished. Amid so much constantly accumulating data, it’s difficult for a single concert—particularly one that you did not personally attend—to feel at all remarkable. And let’s be real: the old problems remain unresolved.
When an artist puts out a live record at their peak, it has the feel of a greatest hits package, or Prince’s 1990s output – a “let’s fulfill our label contract and move on” release. Ever since Metallica released its Live Shit: Binge and Purge box set at a time when I would have purchased a cookbook written by Jason Newsted, the Victory Lap Live Record has failed to capture my imagination. Ty Segall’s Live in San Francisco is not an exception to this rule.
When you look at the stellar lineup of acts that have graced Castle Face Records' Live in San Francisco series (White Fence, the Fresh and Onlys and many of label boss John Dwyer's bands), it was only a matter of time before the hardest working man in garage rock got his turn. For their 20th release, Castle Face capture a blistering two-night stand from Ty Segall's Slaughterhouse-era band. Opening this 10-track LP with a bit of audience banter that makes him sound like a gentler version of Fred Armisen, Segall shows just how unassuming he really is, making this brawny performance even more surreal and impressive.