Archive for Ty Segall & White Fence

Coming To Terms With Tim Presley of White Fence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 2, 2019 by johnbuckley100

Let’s start this here. The most interesting modern music since 2010 has been created by three Californian men, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall of 1000 bands, and Tim Presley, mostly of White Fence. Of the three, Presley is — to me — the most enigmatic, the most frustrating, and in many ways, the greatest genius. We come here not to bury Presley, but to praise him.

It’s not a competition, really. In his various incarnations around Thee Oh Sees, Oh Sees, OCS, etc., Dwyer has produced a world of music that is never uninteresting. Ty Segall has made the classic rock’n’roll of our time, his impressive work ethic and protean abilities dazzling us with his growth into a towering industry unto himself. Both Dwyer — by recording 2013’s White Fence: Live in San Francisco — and Segall — by teaming up with Presley for two albums, Ty Segall and White Fence’s 2012 Hair and last year’s Joy, not to mention going into the studio with him and playing drums on the 2014 White Fence masterpiece, For The Recently Found Innocent — have helped their genius pal record the work that, were a comet to hit Los Angeles tomorrow, he’d be remembered by for all eternity.

Presley is the Bode Miller of rock’n’roll, often frustrating because he doesn’t live up to the potential others define for him — okay, me — but when he’s on, he gets gold medals, he is astounding. As with Bode, you get the feeling that Presley doesn’t really give a shit. Several of the albums he’s recorded under the name White Fence consist of tapes made in his room and released into the world in underwhelming lo-fi. Yet on Live in San Francisco, backed by an ace band, at the 2015 Levitation festival in the mud outside Austin where we first saw him, and — we’re getting there — last Monday night in Baltimore — its clear that Presley’s all in, that he can take those slight songs recorded in his bedroom and owing to his genius as guitarist, songwriter and performer, transform them into intoxicatingly weird punk rock grit. He knows what he’s got, he’s casually confident even if somewhat reticent. His talent is not something he wants to just throw away.

If so, though, then why are the two albums he recorded with Cate LeBon under the name Drinks so unsatisfying? Why is the most recent White Fence album — released by “Tim Presley & White Fence” as I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk — ultimately reduced to a few great songs, two fascinating electronic music experiments, and some noodling you won’t listen to twice? Why the inconsistency? Does he have equally strong convictions about each of his incarnations?

We don’t know. But we know this. Monday night with Ty Segall at Ottobar in Baltimore, the two played glorious psychedelic punk rock. It was occasionally sloppy, a mess. And it was often transcendent. It became evident that in a strange parallel to the role Nick Lowe played with Dave Edmunds when they toured as Rockpile, Segall — the far bigger name, the person who’s cracked at least satellite radio — was there to actualize Presley. Like yeast making bread rise, Segall did his thing, which was to let the 300 thrashing bodies in a little firetrap with un-ironic signs forbidding crowd surfing appreciate the genius that is Tim Presley.

We’ve given up worrying about Tim Presley. We’re taking the long view. His 2010 album with Darker My Love, Alive As You Are, was Tulip Frenzy’s Album O’ The Year, as was White Fence’s For The Recently Found Innocent four years later. The White Fence live album ranks for us up there with Get Yer Ya-Yas Out and Live At Leeds as the best concert recordings ever. Seeing him with Ty this past week made me realize that about 25 minutes of their two albums together is pure and unadulterated bliss, among the best work either has ever made. Among the best music of the past decade.

We’re willing to sit through lo-fi albums made in Presley’s bedroom, underwhelming combos, slight solo albums and the like to get to the good stuff. You see, Tim Presley’s good stuff is for the ages.

Tulip Frenzy’s #2 Best Album of 2012 Is A TIE Between Ty Segall and Ty Segall (and White Fence)!!!

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on November 23, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Back in April, we grokked on the gloriousness of young Ty Segall and the eminent Tim Presley a.k.a. White Fence joining together to produce an album.  We thought Hair was an unqualified masterpiece, stating at the time, “Hearing the ruckus created by Segall’n’Presley on Hair, it’s clear that just walking into the studio together got these young’uns to throw their very hearts and souls against all four walls, no doubt to their neighbors’ consternation.  Does not play well with others is one of those black marks on a child’s life, but if anyone doubted what young Ty could amount to, just listen to this.  The squish of the fruit from his labor with the more experienced Mr. Presley is sonically fine,  more fun than a barrel of Fleshtones, taking the crunching guitar work Presley’s delivered in his previous incarnation and smashing it down upon Segall’s Brendan Benson pop inclinations, like what the Raconteurs would have sounded like had Jack White been into the Byrds and psychedelic drugs, not Zep and Delta blues.”

In June, The Ty Segall Band released an album that, while some folks went nuts over it, we thought was a little disjoint, a disappointment.  But in the fall, Segall came roaring back with “Twins,” an immensely fun return to solo status, Segall playing with just his imaginary friends in a band that existed only in his own mind!

As we noted, “On Twins, Ty Segall proves he has gone way beyond being simply a young tyro.  Yes, he plays all the instruments, and usually that’s self limiting, because few are the one-man bands that can actually swing, for it takes two to tango, and three to play drums, bass, and guitar with any kinda pogoing lilt.  And yet on this ‘un, Sir Ty may as well be Crazy Horse jamming with the Jeff Beck Group: Twins is rock’n’roll nirvana, and Nirvana-esque rock’n’roll — loud and catchy, fast and bulbous, jacked into the mainline SF psych scene circa Summer O’ Luv even as it pulls off a Pin Ups-quality homage to late ’60s Britrock, such as it was.  As is clear from the terrific profile of the young surfer from Laguna Beach, by way of Haight-Ashbury, Ty Segall doesn’t just have a future, the dude has caught his wave.  The jury at Tulip Frenzy has a big November crisis to face, and we don’t just mean where do we move if Mitt Romney wins?  The question we have to contend with is how many slots of the 2012 Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List will be taken up by albums on which Ty Segall plays?  Stay tuned.”

Well, we know how the election turned out, and the good news is we don’t have to leave the country.  Better news is that, after spirited debate, the gang at Tulip Frenzy decided not to try figuring out which of these two albums was better and we awarded the first tie in the history of the Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List ™.

Some Warning Signs From The Latest Ty Segall Offering

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on July 6, 2012 by johnbuckley100

The release of Slaughterhouse is fun’n’pretty good, but it isn’t even the best Ty Segall offering of the past three months.  That distinction, of course, goes to Hair, which the young tyro mushed together with his only slightly older comrade Tim Presley d/b/a White Fence. Whereas Hair showed what happens when solo recording monkeys get to play together, Slaughterhouse is a release of the Ty Segall Band — that’s right, a band — and we had high hopes for it.  Some of them are realized, but I can’t help but feeling like this is the climactic scene in one of those old James Bond movies where inside the villain’s multi-zillion dollar lair, the red lights and sirens are beginning to go off, and a recorded voice dispassionately declares, “Danger: We Will Self-Destruct in three minutes.”  And you root for the good guys to get out alive.

See, it’s not like the songs aren’t good. Maybe as many as five of them are great, beginning with “I Bought My Eyes,” which could have been on Melted or Goodbye Bread, the amazing solo albums Segall released, well it only seems like ten minutes ago.  Same with “The Tongue,” and “Tell Me What’s In Your Heart,” and a few other ditties that qualify as tuneful garagemetalpsych.  But on this ‘un, on the whole Slaughterhouse project, replete with a version of “Diddy Wah Diddy” the world could have lived without, we get the feeling that Ty’s just getting off bashing around, that songwriting comes so easily to him that he could probably put out an album a month, and — brace yourself — may even be revving up to do so.  No, we’re not going to invoke Ryan Adams, and what happens when someone dripping with talent has a compulsion to dabble in multiple genres and release stuff at a pace that makes Joyce Carol Oates seem like a slacker.

The warning here, if we may slip into avuncular advice mode, is that if he doesn’t watch it, Ty Segall could become the next Robert Pollard.  I mean, when was the last time anyone got excited about a new Guided By Voices or Pollard offering, other than the band’s first cousins and next of kin?  With Pollard/GBV, you know there will be four or five good songs, maybe even a couple of great songs, but the sheer energy it takes to wade through and locate ’em begins to daunt after a while.

Right now Ty Segall, with the energy of youth and the talent of Michelangelo, is having a blast, critics love him, the music is of a higher order, he’s inventive and fun, and its always a joy to witness someone who colors even outside of punk rock boxes.  But it would be nice to channel his talent sufficiently to get some shape to his career.  Yeah, career.  Nice if he would now set his goals on making something great, which he is more than capable of doing, as no doubt teachers told his parents as far back as kindergarten.  And we don’t mean making the best Whitesnake tribute album ever.  We mean rising to produce, with a band, or a partner like Tim Presley, or all by his polymath lonesome, something that  makes Nuggets and Beggars Banquet seem second rate.  We wouldn’t suggest it if we didn’t think it was within his grasp.  We’re rooting for him, even as we carve a little self-protective critical distance, dreading the potential for future disappointment.

The Madcap Mashup of Ty Segall and Tim Presley May Be The Garage Rock Masterpiece Of The Millennium

Posted in Music with tags , , , on April 24, 2012 by johnbuckley100

The long-awaited release (well, we’ve been waiting for it since at least last week) of Hair, the collaboration between garage rock tyro Ty Segall and Darker My Love frontman Tim Presley (under the official authorship of “Ty Segall & White Fence”) is finally out, and it is like one of those madcap mashups straight from Ben and Jerry’s lab.  Imagine the tasty concoction created when Alex Chilton’s Like Flies On Sherbet is melted by Ivan Julian and Capsula’s The Naked Flame.  But not even that description prepares you for the gooey pleasures within!

See here, Tulip Frenzy declared Darker My Love’s Alive As You Are Numero Uno on our Top Ten List for 2010and nothing that we’ve subsequently discovered from that year makes us qualify our drooling enthusiasm.  It was a perfect album, which is just as rare as a perfect game in baseball, and maybe even more pleasurable because you can play it over and over and over, as we continue to do.  Throughout 2011 we were waiting for the great follow up to that odd country rock masterpiece, and somehow it eluded our ace intelligence squad that Presley — who’s been in bands as disparate as The Fall and the Nerve Agents — had reconstituted hisself — with or without benefit of side persons, we do not know — as White Fence.

All we know is even last week we were spotting the flaw in young Ty Segall’s go-it-alone approach, and it’s that one-man studio bands don’t swing, as even the most rhythmically nimble need other live human beans to bounce off of.  And of course hearing the ruckus created by Segall’n’Presley on Hair, it’s clear that just walking into the studio together got these young’uns to throw their very hearts and souls against all four walls, no doubt to their neighbors’ consternation.  Does not play well with others is one of those black marks on a child’s life, but if anyone doubted what young Ty could amount to, just listen to this.  The squish of the fruit from his labor with the more experienced Mr. Presley is sonically fine,  more fun than a barrel of Fleshtones, taking the crunching guitar work Presley’s delivered in his previous incarnation and smashing it down upon Segall’s Brendan Benson pop inclinations, like what the Raconteurs would have sounded like had Jack White been into the Byrds and psychedelic drugs, not Zep and Delta blues.

Speaking of which: In a just world, there would be a few crazed bloggers today writing enthusiastic nonsense about Jack White’s solo album, while the mainstream media treated Hair like it was the release of Blonde On Blonde or Tommy or something.  Alas, things don’t quite work that way.  But if you want an early listen to the funnest collaboration since Quentin Tarantino sat down with Robert Rodriguez and mapped out Grindhouse go buy Hair!  And stay tuned for the summer tour of Ty Segall with a — wait for it — actual band.

Waiting For Ty Segall To Roll Out Of The Garage

Posted in Music with tags , , on April 16, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Do Ty Segall and Kelley Stoltz ever get together over beers and talk shop?  You can kind of imagine the scene — the San Francisco fog coming in on little cat feet, Kelley fresh from his day job in a record store, en route to going home and, without benefit of bandmates, recording a perfect update of Ray Davies-style pop craft; Ty fresh from the studio where, without benefit of bandmates, he’s just recorded a perfect update of Ray Davies “I Can Only Give You Everything” punk rock…  Imagine what would happen if ever they teamed up, with a proper rhythm section?

We are eagerly awaiting the release of Segall’s next album, this one a collaboration with another human being, Tim Presley, under the heading of Ty Segall & White Fence.  Hair is due out on Drag City on the Queen’s birthday, April 23rd.  We wonder if, forced to work with another musician instead of, Prince-like, on his own will force the young genius to add, you know, bridges and choruses to the incredible riffs he’s capable of churning out in songlets at 1:40 in average length.  Segall is one hell of a rock’n’roll guitarist, singer, and (partial) songwriter, as he proved on last year’s gem, Goodbye Bread, as well as 2010’s Melted.  The Kelley Stoltz reference is true to the point that these are San Francisco-based pop historians that can produce incredible records on their own, but it breaks down when you consider that Stoltz is a craftsman carefully working alone in his atelier and Segall is a tyro churning out crude, if exciting fare in his garage.

The fatal flaw in most solo records in which the artiste-as-utility-infielder plays all the positions tends to be the drumming, the lack of swing that comes from not having bandmates to get that first track laid.  From Paul McCartney to Skip Spence to John Fogerty to Paul Westerberg, the underlying and unsatisfying weak spot has been the drumming.  This is one of the remarkable things about what Kelley Stoltz has been able to do — as the sometime drummer in Sonny & The Sunsets, Kelley’s got the drumming covered.  And Segall’s an adequate drummer, we guess.  But one of the reasons why punk rock is so much fun is that musicians who have not mastered their instruments mask it by playing really fast.  With Segall — who has more than mastered guitar — we still have to deal with Black Sabbath meters, when we’re yearning for something with a little more energy.

We’re counting off the days til April 23rd, as it sure will be nice to hear his work leavened by, you know, an additional human or two on bass’n’drums.  Meantime, we’ll just marvel at his prodigious talent and output.

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