Ty Segall is a young man with an acute case of garage-rock proliferitis. The 23-year-old Bay Area bro is almost peerless when it comes to wrapping tasty hooks in just the right amount of fuzz and feedback, and he might have already recorded his defining album — it’s just that its songs are scattered around a few dozen releases. On “Goodbye Bread,” Segall consolidates his gains, slows down the tempo and takes his place at the head of the current garage-rock class.
Segall usually plays his songs as fast as he releases them, a blur of speedy guitars and primal bashing. This time, he lets the material breathe a bit, revealing a songwriter who understands dynamics and has a surprisingly vulnerable voice. The title track sets the tone with a lilting rhythm, sweet falsetto vocals and jangling guitars; it sounds closer to something from John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band” than anything from the “Nuggets” box set. “Comfortable Home” marches along slowly, comes to a halt during the chorus, slowly revs back up, indulges a mini-fuzz freakout and wraps up with some effective harmonies. It’s an elementally simple song but one that packs multiple payoffs in its two minutes.
That’s the template that holds up throughout the album: Woozy mid-tempo rhythm, soft verse, loud surge is the general pattern of almost all of the 10 songs, but each is well-rounded enough to stand on its own. Segall has both diversified and focused his sound, making for his best album to date, but probably not for too long.
Ty Segall performs at Comet Ping Pong, 5307 Connecticut Ave. NW, at 9 p.m. on Sept. 26. Call 202-364-0404 or go to www.cometpingpong.com.
— David Malitz
Recommended tracks: “Goodbye Bread,” “Comfortable Home,” “I Can’t Feel It”
There’s no mistaking the youthful squall on “New Brigade,” the debut album by Danish teenagers Iceage. It’s messy, urgent, unrefined and imperfect. In other words, everything you could ask for from a band of young punks.
In an era of rock-gone-easy-listening and endless reunions, “New Brigade” is a reminder of how powerful a noisy, new band with something to prove can sound. The kids maintain an unrelenting intensity throughout the album’s 12 songs. There are no moments to steady yourself, let alone come up for air. Some songs charge forward with more brute force than others — a few even manage to sneak memorable vocal hooks into the chorus — but the unifying sound is one of barely contained chaos and a band introducing itself to the world with a stomp and a sneer.
But there is more to these songs than speedy power chords. A dark, industrial rumble simmers below the surface of “White Rune” — guitars violently slash before the song lurches into its blitzkrieg of a chorus. “Teeth Crush” and “Collapse” are appropriately bleak and confrontational; there is nothing inviting about the sharp sounds and grinding rhythms, but you can hear the band members leaning into each chord and each thump with such full commitment that it’s hard to pull yourself away.
Thick Danish accents and vocals that are both spit out like an involuntary spasm and buried within the instrumental mayhem make deciphering the lyrics nearly impossible. But the song titles represent the simple, slightly violent outlook (“Broken Bone,” “Never Return”) that isn’t so unexpected from a bunch of teenagers. At just 25 minutes, “New Brigade” might be one of the year’s shortest albums, but it’s plenty long on vitality.
— David Malitz
Recommended tracks: “Remember,” “Broken Bone,” “Collapse”
“Outlaws Like Me”
Country singer Justin Moore lays the hillbilly shtick on thick on his new album, extolling the virtues of bird dogs, beer, fishing rods and Jack Daniel’s throughout the set’s 13 tracks, most of which he penned. He comes by it naturally, having grown up in the small town of Poyen, Ark. Still, his lyrics might prove a bit much, even a little cartoonish, for listeners who don’t identify with the redneck (his word) experience.
“She’s good with a cane pole, good with a gun” and “likes to roll in the hay,” he boasts, describing his dream date over the rock backbeat of the otherwise twangy “My Kind of Woman.” One of several outlaw anthems on the record, “If You Don’t Like My Twang” features pealing barroom piano, while “Bed of My Chevy,” a willowy ballad, is something of a “Strawberry Wine” about first-time sex in the back of a pickup.
The music is consistently brawny and upbeat, reminiscent at times of Hank Williams Jr., who gets a shout-out on “Beer Time”; at others of Shania Twain at her amped-up, Mutt Lange-produced best. And Moore, who sings in a rich baritone, flashes winning humor on the self-deprecating likes of “Bait a Hook,” in which a guy who lacks his rural bona fides runs off with his girl. The unrelieved rabble-rousing, though, gets old after awhile, especially in “Sunshine Babies,” a celebration of ogling women in bikinis, and “Guns,” a defensive paean to the singer’s right to bear arms.
— Bill Friskics-Warren
Recommended tracks: “Bait a Hook,” “Run Out of Honky Tonks”