At this point, Ty Segall’s bottomless well of a discography is as essential to his artistic persona as his blond locks and intense live shows. As a solo artist, the man has put out nine studio albums, a few EPs and a dizzying amount of one-off singles. That’s not even counting the many other bands he plays with in between.
While his output remains generous, it’s interesting to occasionally ponder what the material he hasn’t released sounds like. Is there a long lost collaboration with one of his many California garage friends? A killer b-sides compilation that chronicles his maturation from lo-fi punk to fuzz rock hero?
Fried Shallots, a six song EP released as a benefit to the ACLU answers that burning question with a casual shrug. Culled from several of Segall’s countless recording sessions, these songs confirm that, yes, even a guy who averages at least one release a year pays some attention to what should count as LP-worthy material.
Fans may recognize two tracks that have already appeared on Segall’s most recent solo records. Opener ”Big Man” is a slightly stripped back, less strung out version of “Baby Big Man (I Want A Mommy)” from last year’s Emotional Mugger while a plugged-in rendition of “Talkin” from this year’s stellar self-titled album closes things off.
These crunchy retreads into old material aren’t outright bad, but it’s not hard to understand why these off-the cuff versions lost out to what’s heard on the proper release.
The new material here volleys between Segall’s two main modes of burning rocker and folk balladeer. “When the Gulls Turn to Ravens” is the most memorable of the bunch, with Segall employing a weird falsetto to deliver apocalyptic visions over a bed of plucking banjo and acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, this change-up in instrumentation doesn’t offer much more beyond a downhome mood with few meandering solos.
It’s the same story for the louder material here. The chugging guitars of “Dust” and “Is It Real” sound great in the moment, but their blunt lo-fi riffs don’t cut nearly as deep as the more ferocious material present on Segall’s last few releases.
For Segall diehards, the digital version of Fried Shallots is certainly worth its $5 price tag, especially considering its connection to the ACLU. More fair weather fans should still absolutely offer donation to the ACLU, but would do best to sit this one out until Segall’s inevitable next release is announced in a few months time.