Release Date: Jan 22, 2016
Record label: Drag City
When Funkadelic played what they called “rock music,” it was like they’d fallen out of some alternate timeline. You couldn’t call it rock music, though they did. They didn’t know there were rules. They didn’t know Boston or Bad Company; they picked up after “Manic Depression.” They thought rock music was primarily about fuzz, so they lathered everything in fuzz.
"No man is good three times" reads the sticker that adorns the cover of Ty Segall's latest full-length solo record, Emotional Mugger. It's the mantra that was at the heart of the reaction to Franklin D. Roosevelt's controversial victory in the 1944 U.S. Presidential election. One of his many ….
In the interest of foregoing the usual chronicling of Ty Segall’s chameleonic artistic turnarounds, suffice it to say that here is another Ty Segall album. It’s his first release of 2016, but probably will not be his last (in one project or another), and it’s a mindfuck of an about-face from the psych-garage brilliance of 2014’s Manipulator, his most recent release under the project that boasts only his whole name. Emotional Mugger takes all of Segall’s far-flung cosmic muses, slathers them in interstellar glam-rock goo and a lot of phaser effects, guitar leads and solos and gets down to business right off the bat with the dirty, groovy rock riot of “Squealer.
Years from now, if art can still enrich the soul, if music lovers still congregate under common roofs to enjoy live shows, and if human beings can still write coherent sentences, it should be acknowledged by whichever self-appointed pop scribes who blast their grievances via endless online avenues that Ty Segall was not only a significant presence during a period of supposed “non-rock/non-guitar” prevalence in our teenage millennium, but that he was also a moment in time. While continually producing a solid and extensive body of work, somehow meeting a degree of quality unparalleled by many performers with less music to consider, he’s pushed old sounds into new places or applied his signature to multiple rock n’ roll subgenres. With what is technically his eighth solo outing, Segall’s Emotional Mugger deviates from the pop-n-hook of 2014’s excellent Manipulator, buzzing with odd garage mechanics and flamboyant glitz.
Emotional Mugger is the follow up to 2014’s Manipulator which Ty Segall spent over a year on. In that time, he put together an incredible scuzzy garage, psych pop, and glam album that's became known as his most complete work to date. It’s an album that you could introduce to a friend or relative who's disillusioned with guitar bands, and get them excited about rock'n’roll in the twenty-first century.
Blimey! For a so-called ‘slacker’ does this guy ever stop? Hot on the heels of last August’s Manipulator album comes his latest opus, Emotional Mugger, proving that, as modern renaissance men of psychedelic garage bands go, Ty Segall is not one for resting on his laurels. And if he’s not releasing under his own name, he has a number of other pies in which to whet his musical whistle, including Fuzz, Broken Bats and GØGGS. Typically perverse in his press for this album, he describes emotional mugging (with tongue firmly in cheek) as being, “non-verbal, non-physical exchanges in the age of digital intimacy”.
Call 1-800-281-2968, and you'll be subjected to an off-putting message from Ty Segall, grody sound effects and all ("I am itching to hear how I can fill the holes in your ego…do you need a daddy?"). Or, you could hit up emotionalmugger. com, where Segall, dressed as a doctor, stars in an infomercial describing emotional mugging, "a psychoanalytic subject-to-subject exchange formed as a response to our hyper-digital sexual landscape" (a play on modern day narcissism and relations, perhaps?).
Minimalism has retained a surprising amount of cachet in mainstream rock music during the 21st century, an era in which pop, hip-hop and R&B have almost universally become more ostentatious in their stylistic fragmentation and metal has, in general, evolved to value hypertechnical, over-elaborate excess above all else. The booming garage rock revival of the last two decades and the more recent concentration of California’s indie rock scenes around lo-fi psychedelia and beach rock seem to run counter to these trends. Rock is still very much about rawness and simplicity, about the consolidation of pure emotion and creative spontaneity.
Whether under his own name or from various side projects, Ty Segall has kept new music waiting around the corner for years. Over a mountain of releases, he's proven that he can shred multiple times over, and that he can match that intensity in his acoustic singer/songwriter mode. It's fair to ask what else he can do at this point. With Emotional Mugger, we've arrived at a turning point for Segall: After inundating us for years, what can he do to keep people listening? Emotional Mugger needed to be special to stand apart—a shock to the Segall system—and he hints at a new aesthetic direction from the outset.
No matter how much rock writers and fans worship him, no matter how many opportunities acclaim and a loyal fan base may bring, Ty Segall has always kept his distance from music industry trends and patterns. The 28-year-old California native has been a record collector since the CD era, a son of ‘60s and ‘70s garage rock, glam, punk, and metal who preserves long-standing rock traditions with as few wrinkles as possible. He also instills his music with enough signature traits to separate himself from likeminded revivalists, things like his strong vocal melodies and blazing, Mascis-ian guitar solos.
Anyone who was wondering if Ty Segall was ever going to deliver another set of raw, scuzzy garage rock after the relatively polished approach of 2013's Sleeper and 2014's Manipulator will be happy (or alarmed) to know Segall is very much in touch with his noisy side on 2016's Emotional Mugger. Segall's guitar is front and center throughout this album, and the lean, buzzy tone of his axe defines these 11 songs as his chugging chords and single-note leads roar past the lo-fi keyboards and assorted electronic noisemakers that punctuate the tracks. The album's melodic sense owes more to vintage glam rock than garage rock roar, but Segall makes the most of his semi-chaotic primitivism here, which ought to agree with anyone who eagerly embraced his early and less-polished work.
True to his not-modern music, Ty Segall promoted his latest solo album, Emotional Mugger, with several old-fashioned industry techniques. He set up a number you could call (1-800-281-2968, knock yourself out) containing an unsettling, heavy-breathing message straight out of a B-grade horror movie which began: “You’ve reached the emotional mugger hotline. I am itching to hear how I can fill the holes in your ego.” In addition, he and label Drag City sent out promo copies of the album recorded onto a VHS tape.
You could accuse Ty Segall of having an old-school work ethic – he even circulated early copies of this album on VHS tape. But there's nothing dusty about him. The San Francisco garage-punk wunderkind flaunts all his frantic energy and wild-eyed humor on Emotional Mugger. It seems to be the twisted tale of two lovers named Mandy Cream and Candy Sam, who are really into any kind of sex that involves filthy squealing noises, which Segall's guitar is always happy to provide.
Ty Segall’s fans are rarely left wanting. When the prodigious, contagiously productive 28-year-old announced his ninth album would follow quickly on the heels of side project Fuzz’s second album, few of the hardcore were surprised. The question was, could the quality control that defined pretty much all his previous work (under any name), be maintained? The short answer is sort of.
“Emotional mugging,” explains Ty Segall in the promo video for his new album, “is a psychoanalytic subject-to-subject exchange formed as a response to a hyperdigital sexual landscape.” Another in a long line of non-sequiturs from the Californian lo-fi hero, it at least sets the tone for the bizarre world you enter when you spin a Segall LP. Strap yourselves in for this is his weirdest yet. Taking the baton from 2014’s ‘Manipulator,’ ‘Emotional Mugger’ is an altogether different beast.
If you don’t like one Ty Segall album, another one will be along in a minute. It’s two months since he released his collection of Marc Bolan covers, Ty Rex, which itself came just weeks after the second album by his power trio, Fuzz. Given that he appears to regard any music recorded outside a period beginning in late 1966 and ending sometime around 1972 with the deepest suspicion, he has managed to build up a confoundingly huge catalogue without ever truly repeating himself.
It should be more exhausting to keep up with Ty Segall. The clip at which the garage-glam savant releases records is on par with the ’70s supernatural output of our dear departed friend David Bowie. Like Bowie, Segall is so self-aware, so in touch with his own levitating aura, that he’s able to casually hitch genres and styles to one another without ever threatening to not sound like himself.
Ty Segall has never stuck with one distinct sound. He’s based his prolific career on constantly rejigging the boundaries of garage rock. But Emotional Mugger is stranger than even his most seasoned fans might -expect. Gone are the polished harmonies and melodies of 2014’s Manipulator. Instead ….
by Elena Badillo It’s hard to imagine that an artist with a remarkably brilliant, decade long musical career has just had a full-length debut. But the timing in Anna Meredith’s Varmints is, at most, as unorthodox as its content and as its author. After spending several years as a successful composer-in-residence for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Meredith immersed herself into electronic music, eventually starting to experiment with it, blending it with her classical underpinnings.
While it would be easy to peg Ty Segall as slacker rock, Emotional Mugger, the latest effort in his assembly line output of releases, does everything in its power to defy that genre branding. It’s an over-caffeinated, wide-eyed blast of psychedelia and distorted guitars that highlights Segall’s pure musical talent, even if it ultimately comes off a bit slight. The star here is Segall's guitar, which squeals, screeches, and riffs expertly through each track, bringing cohesion to a record that would sometimes be tough listening otherwise.
Millennial garage-psych wunderkind Ty Segall may yet usurp Jack White as the savior of rock. The California polymath boasts a similarly furious productivity and consistency across multiple projects. His eighth studio LP under his own name introduces new band the Muggers, featuring longtime collaborator Mikal Cronin, wandering into prog turf amidst the usual fuzz blasts.
Ty Segall — Emotional Mugger (Drag City)Fresh off a second Fuzz album and a batch of T. Rex covers, newly moved from San Francisco to LA, Ty Segall makes his loudest, trippiest album about emptiness ever. The problem is that the vacancy of the subject matter bleeds over into the songs. Without the instrumental freakouts, which are satisfying and cathartic, there would be very little here.Segall seems to be of two minds about the zeitgeist.