Release Date: Apr 9, 2013
Record label: Castle Face
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
The ever prolific psychedelic wizard behind White Fence, Tim Presley, meant his first album of 2013 to be a collection of older tracks that had yet to see the light of day. Somewhere during the process of picking songs that had fallen in the cracks between albums, he decided to switch it up and Cyclops Reap became a batch of his most recently recorded tracks (barring one that was done way back in 2009) and stands as one of his most cohesive and enjoyable albums. Presley has always mixed hooks in with his cheaply recorded psychedelic explorations, making sure that listeners didn't just admire his ability to conjure up what the Seeds would have sounded like if recorded in someone's bathtub, but that they also had lots of melody and good old-fashioned tunes to latch onto as well.
If you count last year’s ‘Family Perfume Vol 1’ and ‘Family Perfume Vol 2’ as two albums (and why would you not?), LA-based one-man band Tim Presley aka White Fence released three albums in 2012. The third was ‘Hair’, a collaboration with the equally prolific San Franciscan rocker Ty Segall. All were a trippy, lo-fi, psych-punk riot, the sound of a man taking his love of classic rock (The Beatles, Neil Young, The Velvet Underground) and twisting it into something deeply weird.His follow-up, ‘Cyclops Reap’, keeps the party going.
With a prolific catalogue of work already in his White Fence arsenal, Los Angeles’ Tim Presley relentlessly produces lovely, scuzzed-out tune after scuzzed-out tune. Last year alone saw the release of a remarkable three albums (including a collab with the similarly prolific Ty Segall). His latest, Cyclops Reap, amplifies the warmth of his signature bedroom recordings, from fuzzed-to-perfection guitar lines and a restless punk heart beating underneath the saltwater-drenched “Trouble Is Trouble Never Seen” and the jagged blues licks of “Beat.” .
The initial plan for Cyclops Reap was to compile the scraps that didn't quite make the last four White Fence LPs. Apparently, Tim Presley has about 40 unreleased songs lying around, which, considering his backlog and work ethic, makes sense. Since 2010, he's released four solo LPs, one collaborative album with Ty Segall, a live cassette, and a handful of singles.
From this review, I’d like to take this line: “There’s a certain psychedelic phosphorescence and sense of cohesion missing, and the songs themselves often feel unfinished. ” I’d first like to challenge the notion that psychedelia was ever “cohesive,” and also that an “unfinished” quality suggests thus. If there’s anything we should’ve learned from 60s-influenced psych-pop (and, in turn, the blues, jazz, and early rock ‘n’ roll, which influenced 60s psychedelia), it should be that the “unfinished,” the “irresolute,” or the “unresolved” should be important qualities, that which offers something different from the falling/rising chord formative music that suggests a more “sophisticated” pop.
There are two popular, and opposing, strands of '60s revivalism currently trending in indie music circles. There's the DIY garage rock of bands like the King Khan and BBQ Show and the Black Lips, while at the other end there's the more polished, studio-heavy psychedelia of acts like Jacco Gardner and Maston. Tim Presley's project, White Fence, bridges the gap between these two styles, combining slow-burning psychedelics and effects with lo-fi, rock'n'roll instrumentation.
Producing songs straight from fringes of vintage obscuro-pop, Tim Presley’s White Fence have always seemed like one of the more unique examples of the seemingly endless torrent of 1960s revivalists releasing albums over the past few years. As with the anachronistic production aesthetics of Ariel Pink, Presley is consistent in creating music that belies its birth-era without merely rehashing. Hazier than the flower-punk of The Oh Sees’ John Dwyer and frequent collaborator Ty Segall, more detached than the more refined approach of bands like Foxygen and less concerned with the stacks of psychosis Tame Impala seem intent on emanating, White Fence steer toward a more twisted pastiche.
In 2012, Woodsist Records released Family Perfume, which is the two-part release from White Fence (a.k.a., Tim Presley). For the release, a promotional blurb typed out via the fingertips of one Ty Segall says the following: “Fuck Nostalgia. Live the truth. Truth is feeling, truth is sound, truth is motion.
Cyclops Reap was originally supposed to be an archival release. Tim Presley, the guy who records as White Fence, had tons of songs from the past few years that didn’t make it onto records, so he figured he’d collect them into a new release. A funny thing happened, though. New songs started to come to him.
In mythology, the one-eyed cyclops has been traditionally represented as a hulking and mindless figure. Yet the cyclops is a giant in both size and mythological prowess — some of the round-eyed creatures even forged the thunderbolts of Zeus. L.A.’s Tim Presley, more recognizable by his moniker White Fence (when he’s not recording with Darker My Love), has been reaping respect for himself in the buzzy West Coast psychedelic scene with the seeming eye of a seer.