Albums of the Year
Who's gonna empty me out / In the lake in the heart of the valley?
The Fresh & Onlys
White Fence is the music of Tim Presley, a California-based musician who played previously in the hardcore punk band The Nerve Agents and the more psychedelic leaning Darker My Love. As White Fence (and with his other projects), Presley has been incredibly prolific, releasing six "studio" albums in the span of only four years (seven if you include his collaboration with Ty Segall, Hair; eight if you further include the amazing White Fence Live in San Francisco). The sound might be typecast as lo-fi, psychedelic, folk-rock, and/or garage-rock. (The word "studio" appears in quotes above because Presley reportedly self-recorded all but his latest album in his apartment.) A roll call of its influences might include, but certainly not be limited to: Syd Barrett's solo work, The Monkees, The Byrds, Count Five, The Electric Prunes, and Gram Parsons. I hear reminders, too, of many not-so-distant acts, like GoGoGo Airheart.
White Fence might recall these and other similar acts, but it is not derivative. Presley takes his myriad influences and fuses them with his own distinct imagination and incredible songwriting ability to create something unique and unharnessed to any one sound or genre. White Fence is undeniably his.
For The Recently Found Innocent seems to build off the momentum of the wonderfully raucous full-band sound caught on ...Live in San Francisco, and that was hinted at with Hair and last year's Cyclops Reap. Segall mixed For The Recently Found Innocent, and his exterior input complements these songs nicely and gives them added presence. It still sounds like music made by a man alone in a room, but the room feels larger and it's filled with new things for him to play with. The result is Presley's most fully-dressed album to date, but one that, thankfully, doesn't distance itself from the early sparse, lo-fi offerings that introduced White Fence.
Other albums I liked:
Zig Zags — Zig Zags
Salad Days — Mac Demarco
Ruins — Grouper
Enter The Slasher House — Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks
First Demo — Fugazi
Bloodmines — Baptists
Tomorrow's Modern Boxes — Thom Yorke
Heartleap — Vashti Bunyan
Stateless — Dirty Beaches
Burn Your Fire For No Witness — Angel Olsen
Gift — Burnt Ones
Sukierae — Tweedy
Ganglion Reef — Wand
Clear Lake Forest — The Black Angels
Soft Future — Wild Beasts