On 'Fudge Sandwich', the Ever-Prolific Ty Segall Switches Gears

Photo: Denée Segall / Courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR

Ty Segall releases his fourth(!) album of the year, a fun, typically twisted collection of covers called Fudge Sandwich.

Fudge Sandwich
Ty Segall

In the Red

26 October 2018

Generally speaking, covers albums aren't supposed to be grand creative statements; often an artist is simply bragging about their record collection. It can be fun to parse out an artist's tastes and influences by the songs they choose to cover. Ty Segall is no exception. His latest album, Fudge Sandwich (the title and cover both make me cringe - thanks, Ty) is a wonderfully eclectic collection of 11 cover songs that seem to run the gamut stylistically from classic rock to punk with a few stops in between.

As the album's title seems to indicate, Fudge Sandwich is a bit of a mess - in a good way. Most of the songs are slathered in thick, distorted guitars, and those that aren't are (like the best covers) retooled with arrangements that fly in the face of their original versions. Kicking off the set with War's "Low Rider", Segall eschews the Latin party funk of the original by slowing everything down to sludge, rendering it practically unrecognizable. His deconstruction of this 1975 classic allows him to put his stamp on it, turning a dancefloor anthem into a leering doom-metal oddity.

But occasionally Segall renders a faithful re-creation. While undoubtedly fuzzier than the original Spencer Davis Group version, his take on "I'm a Man" is surprisingly reverent, full of '60s boogie and brash guitar solos. "Archangel Thunderbird", the funky 1970 prog-rock nugget from German krautrock band Amon Duul is given a pretty standard – and highly entertaining – run-through. And while he replaces the piano with electric guitar crunch, Segall's interpretation of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band classic "Isolation" matches the initial, soulful torture of the original, with startling results.

But mostly, Segall is content to tear down songs and rebuild them from scratch. The anthemic groove of Funkadelic's "Hit It and Quit It" is sped up, with a wall of guitars added, emphasizing George Clinton's killer riff. The hardcore punk of the Dils' "Class War" is reinvented as earnest, mid-tempo folk-rock while subtracting none of the song's original heft. Inversely, the psychedelic pop-rock of Neil Young's "The Loner" is given a fast, noisy, punk rock kick in the pants.

One of the more ambitious moments on Fudge Sandwich is Segall's take on the Grateful Dead classic "St. Stephen". Largely forgoing the messy psychedelic majesty of the original, he turns a large chunk of it into guitar-heavy speed metal, slowing down only long enough to recreate the song's original gothic middle section. It's a compromise: Segall is reimagining the song in his own weird way while keeping certain parts intact.

Covers albums can often be construed as stopgaps in an artist's creative process; a way to kick back and have fun while waiting for the compositional inspiration to hit again. It's unknown if this notoriously prolific artist is in any kind of songwriting rut, but I have a feeling this fun diversion is just Ty Segall shifting gears while he waits for the rest of the world to catch up with him.





Ivy Mix's 'Spirits of Latin America' Evokes the Ancestors

A common thread unites Ivy Mix's engaging Spirits of Latin America; "the chaotic intermixture between indigenous and European traditions" is still an inextricable facet of life for everyone who inhabits the "New World".


Contemporary Urbanity and Blackness in 'New Jack City'

Hood films are a jarring eviction notice for traditional Civil Rights rhetoric and, possibly, leadership -- in other words, "What has the Civil Rights movement done for me lately?"


'How to Handle a Crowd' Goes to the Moderators

Anika Gupta's How to Handle a Crowd casts a long-overdue spotlight on the work that goes into making online communities enjoyable and rewarding.


Regis' New LP Reaffirms His Gift for Grinding Industrial Terror

Regis' music often feels so distorted, so twisted out of shape, even the most human moments feel modular. Voices become indistinguishable from machines on Hidden in This Is the Light That You Miss.


DMA's Go for BritElectroPop on 'The Glow'

Aussie Britpoppers the DMA's enlist Stuart Price to try their hand at electropop on The Glow. It's not their best look.


On Infinity in Miranda July's 'Me and You and Everyone We Know'

In a strange kind of way, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know is about two competing notions of "forever" in relation to love.


Considering the Legacy of Deerhoof with Greg Saunier

Working in different cities, recording parts as MP3s, and stitching them together, Deerhoof once again show total disregard for the very concept of genre with their latest, Future Teenage Cave Artists.


Joshua Ray Walker Is 'Glad You Made It'

Texas' Joshua Ray Walker creates songs on Glad You Made It that could have been on a rural roadhouse jukebox back in the 1950s. Their quotidian concerns sound as true now as they would have back then.


100 gecs Remix Debut with Help From Fall Out Boy, Charli XCX and More

100 gecs' follow up their debut with a "remix album" stuffed with features, remixes, covers, and a couple of new recordings. But don't worry, it's just as blissfully difficult as their debut.


What 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Taught Me About Unlearning Toxic Masculinity

When I first came out as trans, I desperately wanted acceptance and validation into the "male gender", and espoused negative beliefs toward my femininity. Avatar: The Last Airbender helped me transcend that.


Nu Deco Ensemble and Kishi Bashi Remake "I Am the Antichrist to You" (premiere + interview)

Nu Deco Ensemble and Kishi Bashi team up for a gorgeous live performance of "I Am the Antichrist to You", which has been given an orchestral renovation.


Rock 'n' Roll with Chinese Characteristics: Nirvana Behind the Great Wall

Like pretty much everywhere else in the pop music universe, China's developing rock scene changed after Nirvana. It's just that China's rockers didn't get the memo in 1991, nor would've known what to do with it, then.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.