Posts Tagged ‘White Fence’

Tim Presley – Under the Banner of Concern

Just because it’s mainly music around here doesn’t mean I don’t have time for a little book love, especially when the book is from site mainstay Tim Presley. I’ve been revisiting some of Tim’s earlier works lately and this news item couldn’t come at a better time. Presley’s pairing up with Mexican Summer’s archival and print arm Anthology Editions to produce a book of drawings, paintings, and poetry that should feel familiar to anyone who’s been absorbing some of his album covers over the years. The aesthetic here pays particular attention to his work as Drinks with Cate LeBon. Under the Banner of Concern features art that was previously part of Tim’s shows in Chicago and L.A., showing at Soccer Club Club and The Pit respectively. Any fans of the site know that just a touch under the music obsession lies an obsession with album art and artists, so this one hits quite nicely. The book is out August 25th and follows his previous collections You Don’t Have Your Eyes Yet  (2010) and Mush (2016).

Preview the book here and check out some pages below.



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Tim Presley’s White Fence

The most striking thing about the new White Fence is that its now come packaged as Tim Presley’s White Fence. Its an odd move for a band that’s essentially one guy. While the multi-bandmember marketing move of branding a band with a “presents” banner brings to mind infighting and egos, a la Eric Burdon and The Animals or Rod Torfulson’s Armada, here it seems to strike a connective tissue between Tim’s recent solo records, numerous collabs and his old standby White Fence. Tim’s on again, off again relationship with the name is, to say the least, confusing. Where does the Fence end and Presley begin? Is White Fence an affectation, or is it just a familiar branded beanie that allows him to bloom outside of the singer-songwriter context?

The answers are not necessarily forthcoming here, but a bigger picture does take shape. The beginning of the record dips into the piano-man ballads that Tim’s been slinging on the side. Then he douses it with a bit of the warble-wonk weirdness that he’s found with Drinks (his collab with Cate Le Bon). Before long though, its back to the ’60s strummers of yore. “Lorelei” wrestles with Presley’s inner Kevin Ayers, but its “Neighborhood Light” that’s the standout here. It’s the most proper answer to what White Fence really is – loose, jaunty, swingers that pick at the bones of John Cale, Arthur Brown, Ayers, Skip Spence and yeah the ol’ specter of Syd. More than just emulating though, Tim’s finding the webbing between the outsiders, and that makes White Fence an enduring prospect. Most of the names on that list, bar Cale, would burn out well before any sense of longevity would set in. Tim gives reason to believe that there was far more gas in any of their tanks that we, as a listening public, got to explore.

I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk is a further tumble down Tim’s costume box, breathing in the essence of the guitar freak grasping to translate fractals into fingerpicks without dropping down the acid-casualty escape hatch. Perhaps the best example here is “Until You Walk,” a crumpled tin tango that’s breezy and beatific – if the breeze was pulling downwind from a massive gas leak. Its hard not to find something refreshing in Tim’s insistence on not only coloring outside of the singer-songwriter lines, but adding several layers of touch-up to the coloring book in fanciful curlicue while he’s at it. Everything in White Fence’s world is applied n colors that can’t be ignored and refuse to blend in, and Larry’s is one of the most fully realized examples of that ethos yet.



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Tim Presley’s White Fence – “I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk”

Tim Presley’s been busy recently, but its actually been a few years since a solo White Fence track has trickled into these parts. Following a joint album with Ty Segall, a solo record under his given name and a Drinks LP with cohort Cate Le Bon, he return to the fertile ground of ’60s psych burble, this time advertised as Tim Preley’s White Fence. That addendum begs the question, what’s the difference now between Presley solo and Presley as White Fence? It seems to be a measure of cohesiveness, as I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk (both the album and the track) are steeped in the uneasy sway of his omnipresent Syd Barret / Kevin Ayers specter. The solo record lifted the lid on that for just a bit, but with White Fence back in play, Presley is back mining the acid-dipped end of the outsider pop spectrum for noxious gems. The seasick n’ static video for the track from Ashley Goodall gives the cut a proper hallucinatory quality. Full album arrives packed and peaking on Jan. 25th via his constant stomping grounds at Drag City.

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Ty Segall & White Fence

Insane schedules and myriad commitments can’t keep Ty and Tim from gravitating back together it seems. While Hair wasn’t received as a major event on its release, it remains a frozen moment of fuzz-whacked garage-psych that’s a highlight in both artists’ catalogs. Segall was but an upstart wading his way through seven-inch stacks to nestle albums one after another until the accolades couldn’t help but catch up to his frantic pace. Tim was fresh from his years in Darker My Love and building a wobbly psych-pop prominence of his own. The album lit a match on the powder keg of creativity that was buried knee deep in Syd Barret B-sides, deleted Pretty Things cuts and the kind of Nuggets-worthy references that stretched from July to Grapefruit and from Kaleidoscope to, well, Kaleidoscope (UK).

Seven years on from their first matchup the pair are worlds removed from the scrappy sonics that defined them both in that moment. Still, with the best of a decade behind us, its good to see that the pair have no intentions of digging in another pile of toys to build their collaborative sound. Joy bears many of the best hallmarks of Hair with an improved fidelity and the steady hands of two artists who know exactly what they love and how to pull it off. The album is stuffed with psych pop that still chews at the same wobbly wrappers littered behind by Barret (Presley’s influence one can only assume) but they also charge head on to some fuzzier fodder that’s got Ty’s footprints firmly embedded in its DNA.

Joy’s only stumble can be its apparent need to stuff itself to the seams. While its stretchier length doesn’t give it the same edge of your seat whiplash that accompanied Hair, the duo takes advantage of the space to shake out all their ideas. T&T fleck their creation with echoplex blowback and spine compressing feedback. They dip into post-Mothers chewed psych-soul mantras, wonky intermediary tracks that would make the Small Faces proud, and folk pop that sees them reaching for shades of Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher. Though, unlike that songwriting pair, they’re clearly not striving for perfection. There are some great cuts on Joy and a whole lot more that sound like two crate diggers riffing on one another. Its fun, because you can feel them having fun but it also feels a bit like they’re missing the opportunity to stuff it full of hits.





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Ty Segall & White Fence – “Body Behavior”

Its definitely good to see Ty Segall and Tim Presley jumping back in the same sandbox again for round two on their collaborative LP from way back 2012. They were both just barely eking out their own legends at that point, so Joy comes with higher stakes and a whole lot more studio wizardry behind it. They still careen down the madcap halls left barren when Barrett died, but they’re giving the take on “Body Behavior” a lot more grit. The track dips into the garage grease a bit when the guitars get their speed up, putting a bit more hair on this than some of the other tracks on the album. It doesn’t pull the track too far into modernity though, and this is still pure ’60 psych in its heart. Their collabs always come out heavier on the White Fence side of the equation, playing with Presley’s scattered pop sensibilities as a base. Though, while I love White Fence’s take on the spindly sounds piped into the psych ward of DMT casualties, I’ve always thought that he and Ty take the sound to its fullest realization together.




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