Gettin' hairy with Ty Segall 

Ty Segall describes himself as an “insecure man struggling with his problems.” It’s a surprisingly dour summation from the garage-rock wunderkind who released one of Pitchfork’s top 50 albums of 2011.

At only 25, Segall — who plays The Independent on Wednesday — has released more than 12 albums, each exploring different facets of muddy garage-rock. Although they shift in sound and expanse, all the albums seem to be rooted in something uniquely West Coast.

Born just south of Los Angeles, Segall moved to The City at 18; his music blends the rawest parts of rock from each Californian pole.   

In last year’s aforementioned acclaimed “Goodbye Bread,” he mixed Los Angeles surf-rock with San Francisco low-fi garage buzzing, creating something reminiscent of the late-1960s psychedelia scene, at the same time retaining a certain ’90s indie-rock melancholy.

Just last week, he released a collaborative LP with Los Angeles’ White Fence (aka Tim Presley). “Hair” is weirder and darker than anything he has done in the past. Throughout the disc, Neil Young seems to dally with “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” the 1967 Rolling Stones album. The Beach Boys seem to greet Blue Cheer. While the collaboration has black elements, distanced reverb is what gives the album its drugged-out and menacing feel.
Segall points out that the recording is a unique entity: “It’s a complete collaboration. This is not a follow-up to either member’s solo releases.”

The disc features abstract lyrics that drift in and out of the stream of consciousness. “I Am Not a Game” is clearly about being used in a relationship, but “Scissor People” features ghostly wails that descend into a dentist drill-like cacophony.

While Segall worked closely on the release with White Fence, he  thinks each composer retains his identity. Segall says, “There are shared and solo tunes. The tunes drip from each side.”

 White Fence’s fare is sunnier next to Segall’s contributions, which are steeped in San Francisco-style distortion and echo, with trippy and spacey howls. Acknowledging that his adopted hometown plays a heavy part in his sound, he says, “What’s so cool about San Francisco is that it’s so small, so you kind of get to know everyone, and everyone is in a band or doing art.”

As for the album’s ambiguous title — hair isn’t a topic in its songs —  Segall refers to his penchant for rapid evolution around a core identity.

“It’s the first LP of many. So let it grow, maaaaan,” he says.

IF YOU GO
Ty Segall

Where: The Independent,
628 Divisadero St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Tickets: $10 to $12
Contact: (415) 771-1421,
www.theindependentsf.com

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John Gentile

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