Ty Segall: Gemini [Round Table Album Review]

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segall-gemini Ty Segall
Drag City Records [2013]

Hopefully you remember Ty Segall’s 2012 record Twins (TFN Review). It landed at number 2 in our Top 50 last year and of course received a Headphone Approved stamp with its sonic excellence.

Gemini was released this week from Segall and it is essentially the Twins demos album that was recorded between 2010 and 2012. It is almost a track for track remake (“Love Fuzz” did not make Gemini) and is a LP only release with no digital copies available.

The Fire Note got together and decided that this record was in need of our first Round Table review. A simple track by track discussion as we hear Gemini for the first time. It should also be noted that we spun Twins right before this listening.

So here it goes – four Fire Note critics (Kevin Poindexter, Christopher Tahy, Simon Workman, and Christopher Anthony) take on Gemini!

Side One

“Thank God For Sinners”
Kevin Poindexter: The album opens with a surprising noise just like the weird intro on the album – it has already exceeded my expectations! (Joking)
Christopher Tahy: It sounds like a twinkle.
Christopher Anthony: We don’t even know if the turntable speed is right! (Joking & Laughing)
Poindexter: Speed is right (Turntable Check).
(Laughing by all)
Poindexter: This track has a full band sound or at least Ty playing all the instruments – not what I expected raw or rawer Sounds like they set live in studio just jamming – hanging from the ceiling.
Tahy: Ball and biscuit like?
Poindexter: Who produced twins? Segall – why hire one – this should have been the album!
Anthony: This should be Twins – Gemini should be Twins. Segall ripped himself off! It is like he got in a room and decided to put a little more fuzz to this song and it will become the final album version.
Tahy: Guitars are a little more pronounced here.
Poindexter: Like on the album this is like a major solo part.
Anthony: If only the audio could pick up my air guitar right now.
Tahy: Or my head bang.

“You’re The Doctor”
Anthony: Does this sound different?
Tahy: I know right. (laughing)
Poindexter: You just listened to the album! This track starts like a rehearsal.
Tahy: A jangle in there.
Anthony: A little more kick.
(Simon is here – mic fright – he is going for a beer during this track)
Anthony: I actually like this version a little better.
Tahy: Is that keyboards in the background?
Simon Workman: A little super hard rocking T. Rex.
Poindexter: Like The Flaming Groovies.

“Inside Your Heart”
Workman: Inside your heart is next (Simon’s deep radio voice announcement)
Poindexter: Alright – this sounds like a demo.
Anthony: Sounds like acoustic Nirvana up front.
Anthony: Now Sounds like the Beatles
Poindexter: Sounds like John Lennon – and Segall’s Goodbye Bread.
Tahy: I like this better I like the slower speed.
Anthony: Tahy doesn’t know what he is talking about (Laughing by all)
Poindexter: Speed still may not be right (Joking)
Workman: Seems a little under produced
Anthony: I agree this version is really cool.
Poindexter: Yeah it Might be better – might be – it might be
Tahy: Something else is grabbing me here not just the Beatles.
Anthony: He did the demos like this and then the record and then the Sleeper record is back to this
Poindexter: I expected this to sound more like Sleeper – acoustic wise but it is not.
Anthony: This track is more like the middle ground.
Tahy: Trademark harmony that he puts on his guitars is here.
Anthony: Like to know if anyone else was helping out here. It sounds like a full band and not just him and Eric Bauer.
(The track slows down into a psychedelic ending)
Anthony:The original does not do this.
Poindexter: Pretty cool ending
Tahy: Melts away
Anthony: Ty lets the air out of it.

“The Hill”
Anthony: Was looking forward to hearing this track the most to see if the opening is changed. (The Twins version opens with the beautiful vocals from Thee Oh Sees’ Brigid Dawson.)
(This version of the song starts with acoustic strum minus Dawson but Ty singing the intro.)
Tahy: This is heavy Sleeper right here.
Anthony: Can anyone name the three records Brigid Dawson has been on?
Poindexter: Melted?
Anthony: No.
Poindexter: Dammit – I have no idea.
Anthony: I don’t really know either (laughing) – fans just wiki that!
Poindexter: Oh wow this acoustic strum is cool. This track is more how I thought the record would be like – I am glad it is not all like this but this is good!
Tahy: I am glad there is more diversity to this record – I will take this any day
Workman: Takes some from Brian Wilson.
Anthony: Song takes a different life here on Gemini
Tahy: Its fuzzier on Twins.
Poindexter: I am wondering if these are so much demos or alternative takes?

“Would You Be My Love”
Poindexter: So much for that last comment this sounds like a demo!
Anthony: Stupid idea Dex! (Laughing)
Poindexter: Scratch that!
Anthony: This is actually what I thought it would sound like – Segall cranking on the guitar himself and just singing the tunes.
Poindexter: I always wondered before if he was a good enough song writer to pull off an album like that? Sleeper proved it but until then I thought he just keep jamming out on guitar with noise and that would be it. Gemini is more proof of his talent.
(Tahy in background current making guitar noises)
Tahy: Like he just gets stoned and noodles on the guitar all day which sounds like the latest Fuzz (TFN Review) record!
Anthony: You always wonder how much the production does for a record like this so it is great to hear these early tracks – In this case more distortion was added into the final product. (Workman & Poindexter talking about Robert Pollard’s broken boombox.)

Anthony: Way more psychedelic here – Pink Floydish?
Poindexter: Total 60’s vibe with its free flow.
Poindexter: I feel high right now! (Joking)
Anthony: On Miller Lite (joking – maybe)
(Crash!!! – Tahy just knocked over a box of vinyl)
Poindexter: This is great – “Ghost” is awesome!
Anthony: Why is it awesome Dex?
Tahy: Can you articulate?
Workman: That is the question.
Anthony: Yes – Tell the kids why they should buy a copy.
Poindexter: Ty almost does Lennon better than John Lennon – in a lot of ways – he just nails the vibe not that he sounds exactly like John Lennon but similar.
Anthony: Could be a Beatles solo record?
Tahy: It comes naturally and does not force anything. Not trying to be something he is not.
Workman: Segall is the real deal.

Side One Comments
Poindexter: Honestly it got better as it went – great to start but just kept getting better.
Tahy: Rolled back from a more full sound sin the beginning to a more demo sound on the final couple tracks.
Workman: Kind of sounded like we thought it would.
Tahy: Expectations met and then exceeded!

Side Two

“They Told Me Too”

Anthony: Starts off with a little rocking!
Poindexter: Buddy Holly!
Anthony: Sounds like Ty just plugged in and went for it right away and cranked this song out.
Poindexter: Honestly can’t tell you if it sounds like the original – I can’t remember (laughing).
Anthony: No, this version is much higher pitched and faster. It is much more like a quick demo – lay it down before you lose the idea and tweak it.
(Poindexter now makes a guitar noise with the music)
Anthony: This will be very entertaining if this turns into an actual podcast!
Poindexter: Since “Love Fuzz” is not on Gemini like Twins do we get a bathroom break! (Laughing)
Anthony: If you want to hear “Love Fuzz” go for Twins.
Workman: “Love Fuzz” is the demo.
Anthony: Ponder this: Twins was the first record to come out but Gemini is its twin but really was before Twins (clearly no point or making any sense with this comment!)
Poindexter: You just blew my mind!
Workman: Only on The Fire Note!
Poindexter: It definitely has that – let’s get this thought down before I forget it vibe.

Anthony: Almost a stairway to heaven intro.
Workman: More of the Beatles vibe here.
Tahy: Slow 90’s vibe.
(Simon sings a line from my guitar gently weeps with verse)
Anthony: Has a little more reverb on this one like the genre bands such as Blank Angels or Holy Wave.
Tahy: A little bit but the way those other bands do it is by drenching their songs in reverb while Ty is about 50% or less.
Anthony: It is still modern and 2013 but has that retro psychedelic bit to it.
(Then a deep groove in the song hits.)
Anthony: Sounds like this riff section transferred right over to Twins.
Poindexter: This part sounds finished.
Anthony: Sounds like they tweaked the vocals more than the music on the final version.
Poindexter: How are your demo sessions this good?
Tahy: You’re a sick man Ty!
(This is the section that Poindexter and Workman argue about the latest Death Cab demos for Transatlanticism (10th Anniversary Edition))
(This is the section where Poindexter and Tahy go back and forth between Arcade Fire and The National – we won’t tell you how it turned out!)

“Who Are You”
Anthony: I don’t remember the original too much as this a deeper cut.
Poindexter: This is a pretty ruff cut.
Tahy: Sounds like he is 10 to 15 feet from the mic.
(There is a shaker noise coming in and out on this track)
Poindexter: Oh wow – boom shicka shicka noise.
Anthony: It is like what did the fox say! (Joking)
Workman: The maracas.
Tahy: It is the Rolling Stones meets Thee Oh Sees.

“Gold On The Shore”
Tahy: Feel like intro should be doing a 2 step – strike that says other critics!
Poindexter: Let’s be clear to all – We are not doing a 2 step right now.
Tahy: Tempo change it is much slower here on Gemini.
Poindexter: Pretty song – Sleeper kind of song – stripped down solo.
Tahy: Made me think of Sgt. Peppers “She’s Leaving Home.”
Anthony: I like the distortion here in the demo. I would have predicted that it would have come later in the recording process.
Poindexter: What is that effect he uses to get the feedback here on vocals?
Tahy: Solo cup over the mic? (Joking)
Anthony: Would not be a round table here at The Fire Note without a Breeders or Guided By Voices reference!
Tahy: I was hoping we would take it there!

“There Is No Tomorrow”
Tahy: This is cool
Anthony: Last track on Gemini if you are keeping score! Very demo acoustic style and just the vocals with the guitar strum.
Poindexter: Stripped down, just him and acoustic no effects no reverb.
Anthony: Sitting in his bedroom and a boombox!
(Song ends after 30 seconds)
Anthony: And it’s over?!
Poindexter: Cool outro – short.
(The Twins version of this track is 3:25.)

Final Comments on Gemini
Anthony: What headphone rating would you give it?
Poindexter: At least easily a 4 on the first listen – maybe 4.5 with more listens. It is a great companion and if you have never heard Twins, Gemini stands on its on – it is not just Ty and a boombox.
Anthony: It is another really good Ty record.
Tahy: I totally agree with that – 4 plus.
Workman: 4 with potential.
Anthony: I think that is a universal 4 or 4.5 headphone rating for Gemini. If you are a Ty Segall fan I think we all would suggest you pick this up for your turntable. Till the next round table – This is The Fire Note signing off!

Fire Note Staff

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