Sound Advice: Ty Segall’s ‘Emotional Mugger’

Another year, another Ty Segall album. It’s amazing that the Southern California native is capable of releasing albums at the rate he does. Since his debut Horn the Unicorn in 2008, Segall has released eight full-length albums as a solo artist. That’s not counting his work with frequent collaborators White Fence and Mikal Cronin or his heavy metal side project, Fuzz. However, Segall persists in pushing out album after album of crunchy, psychedelic rock that has gained him a dedicated fanbase.

Released in January, Emotional Mugger sees Segall stick to his formula of gritty garage-rock tunes with a few sonic experiments thrown in. Opener “Squealer” is a standard Segall track, but with an angular stop-start rhythm that mixes up the usual combination of distorted guitars and primal drumming. The trend continues on “Californian Hills,” which alternates between a heady slow jam and quick guitar freak-outs.


Segall has always been a noisy guy, but Emotional Mugger takes his love of all things loud to a new level. Tracks such as “Big Baby Man” and “W.U.O.T.W.S” experiment heavily with harsh dissonance and sound manipulation. The deviation from Segall’s traditional garage-rock sound will probably turn off casual listeners, but fans of his weirder side will enjoy his willingness to get freaky.

Noise rock aside, there’s plenty here for first-timers to enjoy. “Candy Sam” is a great track for fans of 70s glam-rock. The song could easily be a cut from a T.Rex album, with the volume turned up to 11 for good measure.

Another tune for new listeners is the surprisingly funky “Squealer Two.”  The song turns up the sex appeal with lyrics such as “He’s your daddy, gonna be your man” and a bass line that struts with a classic wah-wah wobble. Avoid listening to this one in public because it’s nearly impossible not to groove along.

Overall, Emotional Mugger is another good release worthy of Segall’s name. It does enough of the same to make it familiar to fans and open to newcomers, while still bringing in enough new ideas to freshen up Segall’s usual sound.

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