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Arts in Review

SoundBites (Ty Segall, Neil Young, Good for Grapes, Beyoncé)

Reviews of the latest releases from Ty Segall, Neil Young, Good for Grapes and Beyonce.

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Date Posted: July 19, 2011
Print Edition: July 8, 2011

Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread

After 2009’s easy-listening Lemons and 2010’s thick distortion and fuzz-filled Melted, prolific songwriter Ty Segall has returned with his seventh LP in only three solo years, entitled Goodbye Bread, which is considerably more measured than the 23 year old’s previous releases. Segall sings with serenely detached vocals, and lets his guitar ring out power chords reminiscent of T-Rex’s Marc Bolan. Segall is one of many to emerge out of the new garage rock scene in the San Francisco area over the past few years. He shares his sound with musicians like Sonny and the Sunsets, among others, whose music sounds like unkempt hair, leather jackets, and worn out jeans. Goodbye Bread is an album that invites you in with alluringly noisy, lo-fi pop, but by the time track six, “My Head Explodes,” comes along, an obvious mood change has occurred into something more sinister, yet at the same time thrilling.

– Tim Ubels


Neil Young – A Treasure

A Treasure, the latest addition to the Neil Young Archives series, consists of live takes pulled from Young’s 1984-1985 tour backed by the International Harvesters. It demands of fans the divisive question of track two’s title: Are you ready for the country? Slide guitar, fiddle, honky-tonk piano, and the alternating bass note strumming style made famous by Johnny Cash crop up throughout, yet Young’s idiosyncratic style bleeds through the genre conventions. Album closer “Grey Riders” anchors Young’s dark and frenetic guitar work in strong country inflections. What is most compelling about A Treasure is that it so deftly captures a specific incarnation of Young during his erratic experimental period of the 1980’s that is too often overlooked. It’s worth pointing out that these songs were recorded during the same three-year creative stretch that included the synth-heavy Trans and the rockabilly Everybody’s Rockin’. Unscathed by the occasional slight offering like “Motor City,” A Treasure possesses an irresistibly ramshackle and honest quality.

– Nick Ubels


Good for Grapes – EP

Local band Good for Grapes has released a six-track long EP, or so the back of the cover says, but once you find yourself humming along to each carefully constructed song, you find a bonus in the untitled and unrecognized seventh track: a little gift for the superfan, if you will. From the first track, it becomes clear that this band has both unique talent and creativity among all five band members, combined with an expanding range of influences from Mumford & Sons to Bon Iver. They make harmonies sincere with a range of instrumentations, which both elevates the lyrical quality and keeps it from being too much like an a capella choir. Though a lot of songs in this genre can feel the same and can feel that they go on for too long, Good for Grapes makes each track individual and intriguing, hooking listeners as each song offers something new. Without knowing it, a handful of looped listens will go by with you humming along as if you’d known them for years.

Amy Van Veen


Beyoncé 4

Breaking news: girls run the world now. The United States has just elected their first 12 year old girl President and her primary order of business is ponies for everybody! Her message to the Secretary of the Treasury: F.U., pay me. At least according to the first single off of Beyoncé’s new album, 4, which hit stores on June 24. Aptly titled, this 12-track album is the fourth release from former Destiny’s Child front woman and most charismatic member. “Run The World (Girls)” is the first single off the album, but if you’re expecting the same dance-hall and techno inspired dirty-sick-disgusting beats and hooks from the rest of the album, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The rest of 4 seems to be an homage to math, with tracks including “1+1” (“I don’t know much about algebra, but I know 1 + 1 = 2”) and “Countdown”. Overall the album is a good effort that delivers completely passable pop and R&B. Beyoncé’s strong voice soars on the ballads, namely “Care,” “Start Over,” and “Best Thing I Never Had.”

-Sophie Isbister

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