After releasing several albums under his own name, Ty Segall decided to go into the studio in early 2012 with members of his live band to cut “Slaughterhouse,” a raw, relentless blast of psychedelic garage rock.
Segall had demonstrated an affinity for garage rock on his earlier discs, but he wrote and recorded melodic indie rock too. So no one might mistake the intentions of the Ty Segall Band, "Slaughterhouse" opened with an extended blast of feedback before kicking off “Death,” driven by drummer Emily Rose Epstein; Segall’s voice was engulfed by roaring sound until he withdrew and squealing guitars stepped up to solo. In the title track, Segall’s voice, even when he screamed, seemed like it was coming from a distance far from the chugging, repetitive guitars. As the album unfolded, it made clear that anyone who was anticipating the kind of jangly, kin-to-folk kind of rock Segall included on solo albums like “Melted” and “Goodbye Bread,” released in 2010 and ’11, respectively, had best look elsewhere.
By the time Segall released “Slaughterhouse,” he was a young veteran of garage and psychedelic rock, issuing music under his own name (his solo debut came out in 2008 when he was 21) and as a member of various, mostly short-lived groups, some of which included Mikal Cronin, who plays bass on “Slaughterhouse.” In 2012, Segall released two other album in addition to “Slaughterhouse,” which is the only album billed to the Ty Segall Band, a quartet that also featured Charles Moothart on guitar.
Always a snarling noisefest, “Slaughterhouse” nonetheless tossed a few curveballs. “Wave Goodbye” was a dark, almost-metal blues built around Cronin’s bass; after a squealing interlude and a power-punch riff, duel guitars soloed to the exit. “The Tongue” pulled back a bit on tempo, and Cronin pumped a bass line that gave it its wobbly motion. “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” opened with perhaps the tightest unison riff on the record, suggesting another approach to garage rock, but the track went on with punk rage and a brief but nasty guitar solo by Segall. The album contained two covers: The Fabs’ “The Bag I’m In,” a throwback to a time when pop allusions and scratchy psychedelica co-existed, sort of, in the same tune; and Bo Diddley’s “Diddy Wah Diddy,” which was pushed well beyond the original and the Sonics’ mid-‘60s garage-rock reading. “Slaughterhouse” concluded with “Fuzz War,” a rangy, 10+minute discharge of feedback that Epstein rescued, perhaps too late.
Segall may have told interviewers that the music on “Slaughterhouse” was “evil space rock,” but that’s a dodge. It’s old-school psychedelic garage rock played with intensity and jagged flair.