IN A SAN FRANCISCO garage rock scene currently bursting with a renaissance of Nuggets-indebted creativity, the freshest take on the old noise is coming from the baby of the family, Ty Segall. Segall's songs—yowling and filthy, with equal parts acid and Pixy Stix flowing through their veins—separate themselves from fellow lo-fi, '60s-nostalgic peers with a youthfulness and immediacy born from years of involvement in the DIY punk community of his native Southern California.
"When I was young," Segall hearkens back to the good old days of the early 2000s, "the best thing in the world was [Los Angeles all-ages club] the Smell. If you could get a band together and play the Smell, then you'd made it." Segall soaked up the fast, no-frills sound of the club and relocated to San Francisco, playing for a time in the band the Traditional Fools. One night, when his bandmates had to cancel a gig, Segall decided to fill in by banging out a solo set the only way he knew how—pummeling away at a kick drum and tambourine while exorcising sounds from his guitar and voice.
Since then, Segall has shown little sign of turning back or slowing down. After dropping his solo self-titled debut in 2008, he enlisted a backing band and released the gleefully overdriven and sneering Lemons a year later. Add to that a dozen or so additional releases—via cassette, 7-inch, and 12-inch vinyl—and Segall has delivered more quality music in a few short years than most musicians ever will.
His latest LP, Melted, ever so slightly peels back the scuzz and shrieks of his previous albums, giving a tantalizing glimpse of the songwriting ability and hooks that were underneath all along. "It was a super transitional period in my life," Segall recalls of making the record. "Graduating college, not really knowing what the hell is going on... almost like a schizophrenic, kind of insane time period." That uncertainty, channeled into Melted's candy-coated, feral fuzz-psych, plays like a swerving, sunburned Pacific Coast Highway convertible ride with Rat Fink behind the wheel; it's arresting, unnerving, and his finest work to date. The best part of it all—and the really insane part—is Segall's ridiculous upside and the feeling that this young musician is only now just warming up.