The psychedelic rock wizard Ty Segall isn’t the type to sit idle. Segall released First Taste, his last solo album, back in August. Since then, Segall has also teamed up with Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale and formed the duo Wasted Shirt; they released their debut album Fungus II in February. By Segall’s own insane standards, that doesn’t even count as a particularly productive six-month stretch. So maybe it’s not too surprising that Segall has been using this quarantine moment to put together a record he’s been meaning to make for a long time: A six-song EP of Harry Nilsson covers.
Specifically, Segall has paid tribute to Nilsson Schmilsson, the album that Nilsson released in 1971. Nilsson, the legendary self-destructive studio-rock master and John Lennon drinking buddy, had his greatest success with Nilsson Schmilsson, an LP that spawned three major hits in “Coconut,” “Jump Into The Fire,” and the power ballad “Without You,” the latter of which is Nilsson’s sole #1 hit. These days, Nilsson Schmilsson stands as one of the few album’s that’s both a huge commercial hit and a feverishly beloved cult favorite.
Segall is a longtime Nilsson admirer, and he covered “Gotta Get Up” — now known mostly as the Russian Doll song — on a split 7″ a few years ago. Today, Segall has dropped the excellently titled Segall Smeagol, a free-download EP that features covers of six of the songs from Nilsson Schmilsson. On the Bandcamp page, Segall writes that he’s always wanted to cover the whole album: “I used the opportunity of being at home to cover my favorite cuts from the record.”
Segall has included that “Gotta Get Up” cover on Segall Smeagol, and he’s also given the fuzzed-up lo-fi treatment to tracks like “Coconut” and “Jump Into The Fire.” (“Without You,” which was already a Badfinger cover when Nilsson recorded it, did not make the cut.) Segall’s EP makes for a cool look at a classic record, and you can hear it below.
You can download Segall Smeagol for free at Bandcamp.