Archive for White Fence

At Long Last, A Proper Studio Album From White Fence, And A Gem It Is

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on July 22, 2014 by johnbuckley100

Keith Richards tells the story of how the hollow-sounding chords at the beginning of “Street Fighting Man” were recorded on a little cassette in a hotel room.  We were beginning to get the feeling that if Tim Presley wrote such a masterpiece — he’s written others — he would have released that hotel output, never bothering to go into the studio.  Thank Heavens the Stones had the good sense to release the song in its full sonic glory, studio treatment and hotel track, tinny chords and all.  And thank God that Ty Segall — maybe that’s redundant — persuaded Presley to go into a studio to create For The Recently Found Innocent, because this seventh White Fence is a beaut.

We knew what Presley could do, not just because his band Darker My Love released Tulip Frenzy’s #1 album in 2010, Alive As You Are.  And in 2012, Presley and Segall collaborated on Hair, which qualified as no less than that year’s 2nd best album.  And then, after we complained for what seems like ever that we wished Presley would get out of the bedroom and take his talents to a proper studio and record with a proper band, not to mention straighten up and comb his hair etc., he closed out the year with a live masterpiece — White Fence’s Live In San Francisco, which made our Top Ten List(c).  What a hootenanny that one is!  Maybe the best punk rock record of the last five years!  You could hear John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees chortling at the knobs, as he recorded Presley in all his barrre-chord glory.  And now we can hear the impact of his friend Ty Segall, who plays drums and produces what is already apparent as the best batch of White Fence cookies to come out of the oven.  Ever.

Whether he’s an introvert, or just likes the freedom of recording at home, the intervention by friends Dwyer and Segall to get Tim Presley to share with the world a better sounding version of the magic that takes place the moment he picks up a guitar is surely welcomed.  We are done comparing Presley to Kurtz, gone up the river.  On For The Recently Found Innocent he has brought his jangly guitar, his reverence for early Who and Kinks dynamics, his fondness for psychedelic chords, wispy vocals, the patchouli ambience… brought it all to a studio where Mr. Segall himself plays drums and marshals the Dolby hiss fighters to render this in damn near high fi!

If you think we’re enthusiastic about this, you’re right, and aside from dropping a big hint that you’ll hear more about this when it is time to lasso the best o’ 2014 into our little compendium, we should quit the writing about it and get back to nodding our heads to the beat. Yes, it has one.  Tim Presley has recorded a proper studio album and White Fence can get the Spotify airing and due it is so solemnly owed.

Ty Segall-Produced White Fence Studio Album Coming On July 22nd

Posted in Music with tags , , on May 31, 2014 by johnbuckley100

Woo hoo!  As Tulip Frenzy readers know, we have wished for a while that Tim Presley would bottle up that awesome White Fence sound in a legitimate studio, with a legitimate drummer, and not just record album after album in the comforts of his sleeping nook.  And — where were we? — we found erstwhile White Fence collaborator Ty Segall has persuaded the boy to follow our instructions to a tee.  Here’s how Presley put it:

Fear, anger, pain, anxiety. Guilty! I needed something new. I needed to be free and innocent. I was floating in my room. Sick of the wall Bounce-A-LuLa. I could not get high. I wanted to put some songs in someone else’s room. I wanted to see what they sounded like with a real drummer. I wanted to see what it would sound like using an Aliens ear. For a lack of a cooler/humble word, Ty Segall “produced” this album.

I had to choose the songs. We then went into Ty’s Fiat-sized garage and recorded them. He placed the microphones, hit record and played drums on some songs. Then Nick Murray was called in to finish the rest of the drums. Nick was perfect, seeing as he’d been a solid member of the live group, and I had played demo versions of most of these for him during car rides. This all was a bit different to the WF formula. I had to put dates on a calendar. It forced me to pick the best songs of the litter, and apply those to the tools I had: Ty Segall, Nick Murray, musical instruments & tape. We then dumped all that LA jive into Eric Bauer’s studio in San Francisco. Added some things, and then Ty mixed it all up. I was the farmer and this was Ty’s soup. He somehow knows exactly what I hear.

This record, I had to make a change, not drastic, but a change nonetheless. My room was tired of me, so we took a break, and I fucked some other room.

“Credence of substances, rights of any sex, and situations of finding a place in this world now next. From the drug dealer, to the honest stealer. From the homeless ex-solider to the privileged creep, to the fine Latina walking down the street. We are all guilty of anger, pain, envy & greed… the recently found innocent …. we all will soon be freed.”

The #9 Album On The Tulip Frenzy 2013 Top Ten List ™ Is White Fence’s “Live In San Francisco”

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on December 8, 2013 by johnbuckley100

The 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 and ethereal vocals, no more wispy guitars weaving in and out like Casper The Friendly Ghost.  Instead, the kind of straight-ahead rock we’ve yearned for from an artist, who with Darker My Love, and then Ty Segall, has ranked in our Top Three twice in the past four years, and lives on to fight from the #9 spot this year.

When Live In San Francisco came out last month, we said:

“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 called it the Punk Rock Album Of The Year, but what we really meant was it was Number 9, Number 9, Number 9…

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

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on November 21, 2013 by johnbuckley100

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.

Up The River In Search Of Tim Presley And White Fence

Posted in Music with tags , , on May 18, 2013 by johnbuckley100

In Apocalypse Now, before Captain Willard is sent up the river to kill Colonel Kurtz, there’s a review of Kurtz’s accomplishments, his military CV, which shows just what an amazing officer he was before he went off the deep end.  And so we begin our story about Tim Presley, whose weird/magnificent Cyclops Reap was recently released under the band name White Fence.

Not three years ago, Tulip Frenzy called Presley’s band Darker My Love’s Alive As You Are the Album Of The Year.  Last year, we awarded Hair, the collaboration between White Fence and Ty Segall, half of the the runner-up position to Woods in the Album Of The Year honors (the other half going to Ty for Twins).  So we climb into our little PT boat heading up the river after Presley with admiration, respect, and gratitude for the pleasure his music has given us over the past several years.  And also puzzlement.  How has it come to this?

The reason we have embarked on this voyage is that, since 2010, when Darker My Love was put on hiatus, Presley’s White Fence albums have been tantalizing, frustrating lo-fi oddities, recorded in his bedroom, under the influence of, what exactly? What’s happened to the guy, his state of mind?  Presley has now entered the category of pop genius-savants-eccentrics that include Syd Barrett, The Residents, and The Shaggs — in all cases, musicians you marvel at more than you enjoy.  We’ve listened to each of the White Fence albums, and the feeling is this: you begin by hearing glimmers of pop smithery that brings a smile to your face, and then you wait for it to congeal into some kind of solid form, but riffs come and go, melodies dissolve faster than snowflakes in Los Angeles, and unless you are in, shall we say, a state where psychedelic albums can be understood in their fullest, you just have to wonder: what the Hell is he doing?

Last year, he put out the massive Family Perfume in two parts, released a few weeks apart.  It was said that Part One was curated by Ty Segall, and in fact it came out just a few weeks after Presley and Segall’s great album. But after listening to both parts several times, we found it really hard to want to listen some more, because it was just too frustrating — too fragmented, ethereal, the sound quality too low, as both the key and the meters in which the songs were being played shifted in swirling mists. We gave up… And went back to listening to Darker My Love.

And yet our little boat takes a turn in the river and we can hear, from loudspeakers above the bridge ahead, Presley’s new ‘un, Cyclops Reap.   One song (“Trouble Is Trouble Never Seen”) is sung in the exact phrasing as Eno’s “The True Wheel.”  In another song (“New Edinburgh), we hear the riff from “Needles And Pins” float in and exit like it got poked by a pointed object.  “Pink Gorilla” sounds like an outtake from a lost ’60s artifact. Whole segments of Nuggets get thrown in a Cuisinart, along with jimson weed, nutmeg, and yage, and out comes… out comes… well, damn if this doesn’t sort of begin to work…  If you get into the spirit of things, you begin to realize… yummy, this is eccentric garage psyche, but it actually sounds like… an album, replete with music spliced into units we generally refer to as… songs.

First, the sound quality no longer makes you think he recorded the whole thing on his iPhone.  Second, there are more recognizable, longer-lasting fragments of melody on this one.  Sure, this is surpassingly odd music, but… if you have the inclination to sit still and listen to what has to be one of the strangest career detours in the history of rock’n’roll, you will find Cyclops Reap to be a confounding, ultimately intoxicating album.

Which explains why, when we finally found him, Presley was sitting there playing sitar surrounded by naked Montagnards and a babbling Dennis Hopper.  And having invested the time to discover how genuinely interesting this is, we think we’ll stay for a while, happy to discover we don’t have to carry out our mission “with extreme prejudice.”

White Fence, And The Bands That Didn’t Make It Onto This Year’s Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List: An Explanation

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , on November 27, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Making a Top Ten List is hard in years when there is a lot of good new music.  And just when you think you’re done, inevitably you find you missed stuff.  (One of the most fun aspects of December is reading other people’s Top Ten lists and getting turned on to bands that had not punctured your force field.) But while we’re sure we’ll be doing, if not addenda, then at least announcements of bands we discovered after we’d cast our vote, right now we want to do something else. We thought we should report, if not on the runners up, then at least on the bands that were in contention, or should have been, but which didn’t make it, with some explanation of why not.

White Fence – Family Perfume, Volumes 1 and 2

Tim Presley is a deity in our house, with the shrine next to the bird feeder, on top of the old 8 Track.  Some will remember that Darker My Love’s last outing, Alive As You Are, was Tulip Frenzy’s Album of the Year in 2010.  Of course, Presley is represented on this year’s list by his collaboration with Ty Segall on Hair.  But while aspects of Family Perfume, the epic 29-song double album he released in two parts, in April and May, were as weirdly coherent as anything out of the E6 brotherhood, in the end, we found its extreme lo-fi production coupled with what we can only imagine was an intense psychedelic ambition was excessively confusing.  We almost wanted to shake Mr. Presley by his shoulders, urging him to focus.  We can say honestly that virtually everything his friend Segall does by his lonesome has visceral appeal, but as White Fence, recording all the instruments, Presley’s work is too ethereal, too diffuse.  There’s too much of it and, while snippets are appealing, ultimately it doesn’t rock. And while it is unfair, perhaps, to compare him to Ty Segall — a once in a decade talent — on a good day, Tim Presley’s one of the most compelling figures in all of rock’n’roll music.  Did we mention that just two years ago we gave an album he recorded with his colleagues in Darker My Love our highest honor?  White Fence — Presley and musicians, real sidemen, not imaginary friends – just launched a European tour.  May they knock ’em dead.  And come back and record an album as amazing as Tim Presley’s talent.  From where we sit, Family Perfume didn’t stink to high Heaven, but it just wasn’t it.  We play it, and enjoy it.  But we want more.  We want candy.

The dBs — Falling Off The Sky

God, it was magical hearing Peter Holsapple singing with Will Rigby and Gene Holder kicking down the tobacco barn behind him, and maybe doubly so to have the whole family together with Chris Stamey.  We loved Falling Off The Sky, a genuinely fun album recapturing the magic of Winston-Salem’s finest-ever export to Lower Manhattan.  Both Holsapple and Stamey’s songwriting was strong, and the band is as charming as ever they were.  “Send Me Something Real” was the best Stamey song in years, and “That Time Is Gone” was classic Holsapple. This is the case of a band just barely missing the list, beaten out by Patti Smith, of all people, whose Banga was just that much better.  They were half a game out of the playoffs when the season ended.  Wait ’til next year.

Brian Jonestown Massacre — Aufheben

We got so much joy out of hearing the first really good album from BJM in a decade, and performing the songs live this summer at 930, Anton Newcombe seemed to have a new lease on his plectrum.  In a weaker field, Aufheben would have made it, for it was in many ways classic Brian Jonestown Massacre.  But it wasn’t a weak field, and they didn’t.

Alejandro Escovedo — Big Station

Al’s third Tony Visconti-produced album in the last four years was good, but didn’t make the list because it was third-best among those offerings.  It was good, but something’s missing. We love Alejandro, but admit to a minor disillusionment now that, at least on this album, and for the last two or three tours, he’s gotten away from the larger orchestration of multiple guitars, rockin’ cellos, boogeying violins, etc.  This is a guy who for years would come through town each summer playing punk rock with a real band, and then a few months later return with just cellos. And he would rock just as hard with just the cellos. But when he plays punk rock in a pared-down quartet with just bass, Hector Munoz on drums, and a lead guitarist, something that was so magical about the old Alejandro is missing.  We mull the etiology: whether Al feels the need to play the hard rocker, or whether economics keeps him from performing with a larger set of musicians.  All we know is that, now that he is getting perhaps the most sympathetic listen of his career, with the strongest promotion (Hell, he has Bruce watching his back), and even finds his songs played on the radio… NOW is the time to tour with the whole shebang, the cellos and the peddle steel guitar, the violin and double guitars.  What once was the most magical act in rock’n’roll has been pared down to its essentials, but we want him to give us something more.  We want what Al offered all those many years when we dragged friends to see this guy they’d never heard of, only to have them so blown away, they quit their jobs to follow him like Deadheads.

Tim Presley’s White Fence And The Aromatherapy Of “Family Perfume”

Posted in Music with tags , , , on April 30, 2012 by johnbuckley100

With all the excitement over last week’s release of the gorgeous, epochal, mind-blowing Hair by Ty Segall and Tim Presley (d.b.a. White Fence), who knew that White Fence itself had just three weeks previously scented the air with Family Perfume, Vol. 1?  Things are getting interesting, folks, as for the next few weeks, the Center of the Rock’n’Roll Universe is wherever Messrs. Segall and Presley bring their caravan of strange psychedelica, culled from the grease pits and toolkits of an urban garage.

Just a few weeks ago, your friends at Tulip Frenzy were offering career advice to young Ty Segall that he should find a way to team up with fellow Bay Area solitary studio habitué Kelley Stoltz.  We now realize perhaps how conventional that team might have ended up being — with no insult in the least intended to Mr. Stoltz, whom we hold in high esteem.  Whereas, based not only on his pedigree — Darker My Love, The Strange Boys, The Nerve Agents, just to name a few of the bands Tim Presley’s played in — but also on the sheer sonic weirdness of White Fence, the combo of Segall and Presley is like the two brainiacs at the Mensa Convention who find that one has the Nitrous, the other the Oxide, and laissez les bon temps rouler.

Just as there is more computing power in an iPhone than there was in the Apollo moon shots, there’s probably more studio muscle in Garageband than George Martin had at Abbey Road.  A generation back, Olivia Tremor Control figured out how to produce music as magical as Sgt. Pepper’s with a four track and a bong, but on Family Perfume, Vol. 1, Presley sees them and raises them one by building a psychedelic masterpiece all by his lonesome.  Go listen to “Balance Yr. Heart” followed by “Do You Know Ida Know,” and ask yourself whether if we played them for you, and told you the names of the songs and the album title, and went on to tell you these were lost tapes emanating out of the Elephant 6 basement, you’d give us even a momentary argument.  You know you wouldn’t.  And you haven’t even heard the album yet!

Tim Presley operates like some cosmic rock’n’roll throwback.  His name is Presley, for cryin’ out loud, and according to this very interesting interview in Vancouver’s online Scout Magazine, White Fence operates like something not seen since the heyday of Chuck Berry: three different road bands to back him up, depending on where he is.  There’s an L.A. version, a San Francisco version, and we’re betting it’s the New York version that backs Segall and Presley for this East Coast dates in May (alas, only Portland, ME, and NYC.)

Thank Heaven for cheap technology, because Vol. 2 of Mr. Presley’s aromatherapy is being released in just a few short weeks.  Whatever is happening in the universe in the month of May, there’s nothing we can imagine that will be more exciting than seeing White Fence and Ty Segall get up on a stage together.  A one-man Pixies meets a one-man Alex Chilton-meets-the-Beatles-in-Topanga-Canyon-circa-1967.  The mind boggles.

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