White Fence “Live In San Francisco” Shows The Benefits Of Tim Presley’s Getting Out Of The House

Tim Presley is a remarkable American rock’n’roll talent.  The last Darker My Love album, Alive As You Are, was so great, we awarded it Tulip Frenzy’s 2010 Album of The Year.  Higher-proof praise is legal only in countries that sell absinthe.

‘Cept we nearly did it all over again in 2012, when we called Hair, the album he and Ty Segall released, the second best rec of 2012.

So clearly, our admiration for Presley is up there with the warm feelings we hold for such luminaries as Jean-Claude Killy, Nelson Mandela, and Donald Barthelme.

But the thing is, we didn’t really like his work with White Fence, which most of the time bears the same relationship to a real live rock’n’roll band as, well, Tulip Frenzy bears to a real music blog.  See, White Fence is, in its previous recorded output, basically Presley sitting at home and recording his very interesting, very weird, rather slight songs, probably from his couch.  The White Fence albums are not to be confused with what Ty Segall does in a studio, when what sounds like a guitar army with a gorilla on drums turns out to be Ty alone, spitting out raucous and tuneful magnum opi all by himself.  It’s not like what Kelley Stoltz, just to name another Area Code 415 pop genius, does when he recreates the sound of the Lola Vs. Powerman-era Kinks without any assistance from another living humanoid.  The White Fence records all sound like great demos, and leave us yearning for the “real album” with “a real band.”

By this past May, even though we quite liked Cyclops Reap, we’d taken to comparing Presley to Kurtz, gone up the river, with the need for someone to go bring him back to HQ.  Living on the East Flank of the land, without much access to White Fence live, we were skeptical of listening to a White Fence record that twanged our woogy the way Presley’s work with Darker My Love or young Ty clearly did.  (Remember, we called Alive As You Areperfect record.)

But now comes White Fence: Live In San Francisco, and hallelujah, it is one of the hardest, bossest punk-meets-Byrds-in-Andy-Warhol’s Factory documents that you will ever hear.  Ever.  Great bashing drummer, multiple guitars, Presley singing into the microphone like he means it, it contains none of the fey and tentative, dreamy pop chops that the prior White Fence albums have.  “Pink Gorilla,” which was one of the best songs on Cyclops Reap, is magical, as is the other song from that album, “Chairs In The Dark.”  “Harness” is such gob-flying late ’70s British punk, you can imagine Fred Armisen playing on it.  So of course the Great Man of the Epoch, Thee Oh See’s John Dyer is a prime mover behind the release, and we can only imagine his no B.S. admonition to Presley: Tim, get out of the house and play these songs with a real band.

We are so glad he did.  This is the punk rock Album Of The Year.

One Response to “White Fence “Live In San Francisco” Shows The Benefits Of Tim Presley’s Getting Out Of The House”

  1. […] fundamental dilemma of Tim Presley’s White Fence was solved, as we discovered, when you got the guy out of his apartment and onto a stage with a killer live band.  No more soft […]

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