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Wednesday, January 28, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 22.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Vinyl Cave: Short takes with Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

There's been a slew of interesting albums coming out the past few months, and I've gradually picked up the LP versions here and there. Time for some catch-up.

Ty Segall: Twins
Since the mid-2000s, Ty Segall has compiled a dizzying discography of various bands and solo projects -- one that would already be hard for the obsessive collector to catch up with. For those who haven't navigated the sometimes choppy waters of the Segall Sea yet, Twins would make a good starting point ... provided you like heavy rock. I've only heard selected parts of Segall's past discography, but his three releases of 2012 have all been more consistent as albums than what I had heard previously.

Twins is the best of this year's trio, a collection of pounders suggesting an unholy liaison between the overdriven power of old Dunwich 45s, dirty bubbleglam and a whole lot of psychedelics. It's just so gol-darn catchy, ferchrissakes. I've heard a lot of solid albums in this year, but very few that have compelled me to keep listening to it over and over, and there Twins delivers. Pick it up, put it on and crank it!

It's also worth noting this is a very well produced LP package, with a great sounding, noise-free disc (ironically, for an intentionally mid-fi production) and heavy tip-on style gatefold cover. As a side note, Segall's own label also released the new Trin Tran LP, Dark Radar, of which I have yet to see a copy. (Drag City DC350, 2012, with download card)

Thee Oh Sees: Putrifiers II EP
Recent tourmates of Segall and fellow San Franciscans, Thee Oh Sees and frontman John Dwyer have also piled up a dizzying discography in a relatively short time. Singles, split LPs and EPs, "main" albums, demos albums, reissues ... it can be hard to figure out what's what at times. The latest new release is the mysteriously-titled Putrifiers II EP, which is actually a normal-length album. It's another solid entry in their catalog, vacillating between direct rockers such as "Wax Face" and more amorphous songs like "So Nice."

Considering how many records have emerged from the band, it's amazing how much great material they keep releasing. If you already like Oh Sees, you'll definitely want this one too. Those who haven't heard them before may want to check out the more focused Help or Castlemania first -- though I wouldn't ever recommend against buying any Oh Sees record. The LP comes with a fancy die-cut sleeve. (In the Red ITR-235, 2012, with download card)

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Meat + Bone
Shouted nonsense: check. Boasting and/or taunting: check. Gorilla drumming: check. Various overdriven guitar amps: check. THE BLUES IS STILL NO. 1! Yes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion remains the world's scuzziest version of Blueshammer, despite the fact they're not a blues band . On Meat + Bone they return guns blazing to Orange-era form. (There's even a direct nod to that album, the "Bellbottoms" done sideways "Boot Cut.") It's hard to believe but two decades have passed since JSBX's debut album, and eight since their last studio disc. Their genre-pureeing style still sounds like nobody else out there, and decimates the sensitive hipster beardos and synth-pop revivalists of the current indie rock scene in the same way it took down fake grunge and boy bands in the '90s. Longtime fans will want this one ASAP; new listeners are in for a textbook example of what these guys do. (Boombox/Mom & Pop MP-068-1, 2012, with download card)

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