Though Live at Worship by Ty Segall and Emmett Kelly has been out since February of this year, the vinyl pressing has only really been available over in Europe due to manufacturing delays here in stateside. Well, it’s finally here! And today I’m taking a look at the 2023 live EP, showing you my copy of the record on vinyl, talking a little about what you get within, and sharing a little about the show where this was recorded. Hint: it’s kinda cool!
As always, you can watch me discuss the album on my YouTube Channel, the video from which is embedded below:
We’ll start with the vinyl.
Vinyl Unboxing of Live at Worship
As noted, this is an EP — or extended play — which, for those who are unfamiliar, means it’s longer than a single but doesn’t quite have the duration of a full-length record. That means this EP features just five songs. Pressed to 12-inches, it spins at 45 RPM with 3 songs on the A side and 2 on the B.
There’s not much here, no inserts or any supplemental bonuses within the sleeve. It’s just the sleeve, the record, and that’s it. Which, honestly, you get that a lot with Drag City.
You don’t even get download codes, which in many ways is smart on their part given the mass popularity of streaming platforms. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I used one of those codes, but it was ages ago!
This, like most Drag City releases these days, just has the one pressing: standard black wax.
And, as you’ll find on the past several Drag City albums from Ty Segall, it’s on nice thick wax which feels quality and superior to even other 180 gram pressings out there. I like the simplicity; I don’t always like the price — especially given there are just 5 songs here.
A Brief History on Ty Segall
I would consider Ty Segall one of the more prolific indie rock artists out there. He is constantly releasing new albums, having new collaborations, and going on tour. He’s been on this tear since his self-titled album in 2008 — that’s a 15 year track record of, essentially, a minimum of one album each year!
Unlike most artists who use their own name as opposed to adopting a band moniker, I definitely wouldn’t consider Ty Segall to fit the singer-songwriter “genre,” though using his own name certainly gives him the flexibility to swap backing members, tour with a vast arrangement of artists — or just go solo.
So, in many ways the singer-songwriter mantra is there, just not the style of music.
Ty Segall creates music that varies greatly from album to album, but more often than not encompasses some form of garage rock-based indie rock. He usually blends in a variety of other genres and sub-genres including psychedelic rock, blues, punk, noise, folk, and occasionally even heavy metal — though that’s predominantly reserved for his project WITCH.
Last year Ty Segall released what seemed like his 300th album. It was called “Hello, Hi” — and that’s with the quotations. Compared to his greater body of work, this album is on the softer side, devoid of the fuzzed out guitar riffs, powerhouse electrified solos, and heightened volume of Ty Segall favorites of mine like Manipulator and Twins. It’s a lot closer to another favorite — 2014’s mostly acoustic Sleeper.
And that’s where we get to Live at Worship.
Where Was Live at Worship Recorded?
“Hello, Hi” was released in late July of 2022, and just before the album release shows in Los Angeles, Ty Segall and Emmett Kelly put on a somewhat impromptu show at a vintage clothing shop in the Highland Park neighborhood of LA.
Yep, that place is called Worship.
Featuring just the two of them — Ty and Emmett — the acoustic performance saw the pair perform songs from what was then a forthcoming release, stripped down even further.
Live at Worship Review
For an impromptu live performance recorded and released on vinyl, there’s a surprising warmth to the record. The guitars, the vocals, everything — it’s clear and pieced together quite nicely.
The duo hits five of the best songs off “Hello, Hi” and they give them an added intimacy and depth that goes beyond even what the studio recordings were able to capture. The ambient noise from the crowd doesn’t overpower the performance — a risk you get with live records. And in true Ty Segall form, even his acoustic stuff sounds bigger and more expansive than you’d expect from such a stripped down performance.
There’s an energy here that is so undeniably Ty Segall — and that’s the greatness of an artist like this. He can craft a song that works a multitude of styles. Given the brevity of songs here, I’ll touch on each of them briefly:
“Hello, Hi” and “Don’t Lie”
The title track to last year’s album, “Hello, Hi,” is a quintessential example of that in play here on Live at Worship: the energy, the greatness, that the song works across various styles.
He follows that with a cover that I’ve been in love with since the original dropped back in 2009: “Don’t Lie” by The Mantles. Here he blends his own style with that of The Mantles’ original, all while channeling that vocal vibrato signature to the glam superstar Marc Bolan — and we know Segall is a fan of T Rex having released an album full of their covers.
(An aside: I did include a link to The Mantles on Amazon, though your best bet is to grab a copy on Discogs as the price is WAY better as of the publishing of this post. Live at Worship is less expensive on Amazon, though, if you factor in free shipping.)
“Blue,” “Saturday Pt. 2,” and “Distraction”
“Blue” concludes the A side by taking things down a notch.
It’s a comfortable midpoint. Not too strong, not too powerful, a little slower. Ty and Emmett have some great harmony vocals here that don’t really get an emphasis on the studio recording. It really makes this song stand out in comparison.
“Saturday Pt. 2” is another favorite from “Hello, Hi” that I’m glad to hear made it into this EP. Following “Blue” this song begins on the more mellow side — just like that one — and builds to a powerful climax toward the end. Sure, you don’t get saxophone here, which really helps propel the song to greatness on “Hello, Hi”, but Segall and Kelly duel it out a little on the guitars during that climactic build-up.
That leads into the closing track — both here and on “Hello, Hi” — “Distraction.” It wraps up both the EP and the LP on an extremely intimate note. The harmony, the intricate guitars … it’s the perfect conclusion to a truly stunning set!
Summing Up Live at Worship
This EP is WHY I love Ty Segall. It’s so different from a lot of what you get from him, so shockingly good. His ability to craft an album that is packed with tremendous noise and fuzz and screaming vocals that turns out really, really good is paired with a sound like this that’s stripped down, acoustic, and minimalistic. The ability to have that totally dualistic range is damn near unparalleled.
If you want to see more Ty Segall, I did cover “Hello, Hi” last year. It also graced my best of 2022 list. And, of course, I’ve covered Segall many other times in the past, and you can peruse those posts on my Ty Segall page.