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Preceded by the 'She Got Harder' single in November 2015 GØGGS is the latest in a long line of Ty Segall bands/projects/releases (although it's existence is described as a "necessity" by fellow core member Chris Shaw). 

Now to my mind Segall's Ty Rex album of Marc Bolan covers was one of the most pointless releases of recent months (or compilations of older recordings, if you prefer) and his subsequent Emotional Mugger album left me similarly cold. Given the amount of material forthcoming from him over the past decade it could well be I've reached peak Segall. Still, with Shaw & regular collaborator Charles Mootheart in the band and guests on the album including Mikal Cronin and Wand's Cory Hanson there's always a chance of an unexpected breadth of sound or something else different to make this stand out from all of his other material.  

Fear not. A month after having written the preceding paragraphs, in which time Segall & his band of Muggers played an insane show to close out Primavera Sound 2016 thereby proving I'd jumped the gun in feeling I'd had enough of his output and having been enthused by the (just over) 25 minutes of GØGGS, it's safe to say this is one of his most vital & visceral works. Who needs greater breadth?

It's primitive, pounding punk at its best. What do the guests contribute? No idea - if not for the live rawness of the product it could easily be the work of just the man himself, such is the near total absence of any other personality aside from his. There are some backing vocals later on but for the bulk of the ten tracks all you have is Segall's urgent vocal delivery, rudimentary guitar riffs (fuzzed to the nth degree and heavy as you like) with the drums thumping basically behind it all. Great stuff.

GØGGS is available from amazon & iTunes.


Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds - La Araña Es La Vida

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Things are pretty laidback on Kid Congo's fifth outing with his Pink Monkey Birds. Not that you'd have been expecting a massive slap in the face to be delivered but it takes until the fourth song ('Magic Machine') before any evidence of urgency appears and even then it's intermingled with some pretty languid guitar passages.

Which is all fine in and of itself but doesn't make for a record that grabs you by the neck to immerse you face first in the world created by its dozen tracks (or ten if you buy the vinyl version). 

Instrumental 'Karate Monkey', which appears at the halfway point (& brings to mind 'Lust For Life') once more raises the pace but also has an aimless element & ultimately dwindles away - a fault that unfortunately applies to quite an amount of the content of La Araña Es La Vida. 'We Love You' thankfully pounds along to its end as it announces it will at its start.

The mixed bag nature of the release continues though with the largely forgettable 'Chicano Studies' (which might have been improved by being another instrumental rather than having tannoy-like vocals and crowd noise bubbling through it) whilst the ten minute outro that is 'Five Points' / 'Howards End' / 'Nasty Hat' showcases some neat slide guitar playing & then curtails proceedings on what could well have been the highlight of the album.

A bit of a disappointment then potentially. The material herein may be better appreciated live but on the whole it doesn't inspire repeat listening just on the sum of its own merits. Every band has a below par album now and again and it would seem that this just happens to be KC&TPMB's treading water effort. 

Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds headline the opening show of the 2016 Franklin Fest at The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on June 23. Tickets available here.

La Araña Es La Vida is available from amazon & iTunes.

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