Ty Segall Band: Slaughterhouse
"Is it going?" Ty Segall asks at the start of his band's riotous Bo Diddley cover Diddy Wah Diddy, "All right, here we go, extra fast." The guy's not kidding. Though Segall himself is no stranger to the music scene, Slaughterhouse represents the debut album of this particular project, the energy and verve of newness permeating all of the rambunctious proceedings. Just about every song here positively rips through its run-time, speeding across verse-chorus-verse structures at break-neck speed, arriving at rock session outros as quickly as possible. Death, I Bought My Eyes, and The Bag I'm In all follow this blueprint, cramming deliciously distorted pop-punk ditties into their first half before absolutely letting a rip. The grungy nature of the album is one of its most appealing factors, but it does occasionally distract from just how good Segall is at writing a catchy melody, such as on the deceptively early-Beatles-esque Tell Me What's Inside Your Heart. It's a terrifically fun listen, messy, and excitable, and raw, all without mentioning Slaughterhouse's highlight, the immense, towering Wave Goodbye.
Spiritualized: Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Spiritualized is another band that employs some lo-fi rock recording styles, but they couldn't be coming from a more different place. Where Segall's crew is all aggressive, messy fun, Jason Pierce's outfit is more prone to shoot for the stars, often landing in some pretty mesmerizing territory. Take proper opener and lead single Hey Jane, a track that stretches out over eight minutes, evolving from the radio-ready sing-a-long of its opening into the ethereal chanting of its conclusion. Almost everything here follows suit, employing strings, brass instruments, and female choruses, all in the name of making this thing epic, epic, epic. Even the tracks with less lofty ambitions, such as gritty hum-dinger I Am What I Am, manage to impress with their dense production, and exquisite craft. It's a mammoth of a disc, one that closes out with it's very most cinematic, effecting moment, So Long You Pretty Thing.
On Second Thought...
Recently, I've been going back through old posts on the site, editing articles, and formatting them to meet HSH's present standards (Don't look back yet: I've got a waaays to go). Doing so has allowed me to confront a few previously posted opinions, none causing my face to redden more than my inclusion of Kick-Ass in my Top 40 Movies of 2010. The blip that I wrote about the film back then perfectly forecast my eventual change of heart, explaining that the movie's detractors found it mean-spirited, and stylistically nauseating. Not only did I come over to their side upon a repeat viewing, I even soured on the performances, save Nicolas Cage's gleefully unhinged turn as Big Daddy, of course. Other than that blessed offering from the strangest of Coppolas, KA is remarkably tone-def, unable to land its many attempted jokes, leaning heavily on poorly staged, repetitive hyper-violence to entertain its audience. It's a lame duck, a crude one at that, and I'm not quite sure how it fooled me the first time around. How I ever thought it was better than Step Up 3D, I'll never know.