Frontier Psychiatrist

Slaughter Is the Best Medicine: A Review of Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse

Posted on: June 22, 2012

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There is a school of thought that real balls-out, face-melting, teeth-gnashing, soul-blazing rock and roll doesn’t exist anymore. Those who subscribe argue that the contemporary indiesphere or popular music in general has passed on meaty guitars, soring solos and scorched vocals, favoring syrupy synths or jangly acoustics. If you’ve spent any time on FP this year, you’d know that this isn’t the case. Rock and roll is back in a big way, whether it’s the Sonic Youth-esque squalor of The Men’s Open Your Heart, the jet-black psychedelia of Royal Bath’s Better Luck Next Life or Cloud Nothings’ Steve Albini boosted emo-punk callback Attack on Memory. Never content to let others have all the fun, contemporary psych godfather Ty Segall sounds the alarm with this year’s most punishing record yet, and perhaps his best to date: Slaughterhouse, released 6/26 on In The Red and now streaming at Spin.

Record #2-of-3 of 2012 for Mr. Segall (“SEE-guhl”), Slaughterhouse is either the clear pinnacle of a short-lived return to rock, or perhaps a shape of what’s to come. I argue the latter, mainly because this record is so addicting, it begs to be emulated. If you can crank “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” and not shred the air guitar, you are a stronger and tighter-assed individual than me.

If you’re familiar with Ty, these arrangements won’t be any surprise, but it’s the fervor and fire—of which we’ve only previously caught glimpses—that’s on full display throughout Slaughterhouse. There’s the ever-present blues-pentatonic scale that has long defined his warped style, this time with serious muscle and none of the sensitivity of his 2011 solo breakout Goodbye Bread. There’s no doubt that “That’s the Bag I’m In” was penned by the same demented songwriter who gave us “My Head Explodes”, but his newfound unchecked aggression is refreshing and more than welcome.

This record is credited to the Ty Segall Band, which is made up of his touring band, including Mikal Cronin, Charlie Moonheart and Emily Rose Epstein, and it’s no surprise. Ty live has long been a different and louder (and better) experience than his recorded output, largely because he and his band know how to turn it up. Better than ever before, Slaughterhouse captures the full-force assault of a Ty Segall show. Seriously, who else could kick the shit out of Bo Diddly ‘s “Diddy Wah Diddy”?

Ty Segall isn’t shy to wear his influences on his sleeve, and yet nothing ever sounds stale. We’ve heard him indulge his inner-Plastic Ono Band John Lennon (“Goodbye Bread”), his desire to be a member of The Zombies (“Time”) and even explore some Village Green Preservation Ray Davies urges (“Caesar”). On Slaughterhouse, the first, and most obvious influence is Paranoid-era Sabbath. But it’s his overall vision, swagger and muscle that always pulls through, giving us fantastic tracks like “Wave Goodbye”.

For too long of a time, we had a great shortage of real rock and roll, especially on a mainstream stage. Jack White—who is certainly a legend in his own right—was really the only widely known artist interested in producing quality music that scratched that itch, save maybe Dave Grohl. While Segall’s popularity certainly is nowhere near White’s superstardom, but given the right platform, it’s conceivable he could come close. The contemporary psychedelic scene is on the verge of exploding into a full mainstream movement, and Ty is the obvious leader of the pack. This man is a rock legend in the making, and you might as well get on the wagon now, because you’ll be another three albums late this time next year.

Peter Lillis is Managing Editor of Frontier Psychiatrist. Long live guitar.

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4 Responses to "Slaughter Is the Best Medicine: A Review of Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse"

[…] favorites such as The Men, Clams Casino, Ty Segall, Flying Lotus, Vampire Weekend, Youth Lagoon, Kendrick Lamar, Lower Dens, Schoolboy Q, Nicolas […]

[…] favorites such as The Men, Clams Casino, Ty Segall, Flying Lotus, Vampire Weekend, Youth Lagoon, Kendrick Lamar, Lower Dens, Schoolboy Q, Nicolas […]

[…] the online experience of the publication. In most ways, they succeeded. By bringing acts such as Ty Segall, Beach House, Dirty Projectors and Kendrick Lamar, all with the online stamp of approval “Best […]

[…] is also more personal than Hair or Slaughterhouse, which is clear why he saved these songs for his solo record. In place of esoteric psychedelia or […]

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