Revisiting Ty Segall & White Fence’s Hair

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HAIR by Ty Segall and White Fence. Released in 2012. For a frame of reference: Ty and White Fence both are familiar names in the garage rock revival. Puke. I called it that, because it’s seven years later and that whole ‘prolific’ solo movement is a real thing, even though we knew it was at the time.

I remember thinking of it like this: White Fence was the more psychedelic of the two – a little rougher around the edges. But Ty, with a growing reference to not just the 1960s, knew how to make things weird, too. And they both adored the faux British accent. Put them together and this album is the dream album for a young person learning how to play rock ‘n roll. This album ranges from shorter back to the basics Easy Ryder/Crybaby punk to all out adventures of jamming out brilliance. How these guys were able to pull this one off? I – to this day – pretend that it’s Ty Segall & White Fence & G. Gordon Gritty. It’s easy. I pick up any instrument and play along to this album. I appreciate it more by being an honorary member. I’d like to think that this wasn’t really that much of a thought-out effort on the part of Ty & White Fence. But that’s what I would like to think. I don’t care. There are just so many different tones, leads, notes, effects, noises. It’s an album that makes fun of bands that try too hard just as much as it makes fun of slacker bands. Without a doubt one of the most influential records on my playing and recording.

Ty and White Fence are coming to The Sinclair in Boston on Thursday and I am super excited to see them work through some stuff that I’ve become pretty obsessed with over the years. HAIR holds up. Ya it does.

Concert Review: Ty Segall, White Fence, Strange Boys @ Space Gallery

Date: Monday, May 14, 2012
Venue:
Space Gallery, Portland, ME

Pre-Show: “That’s the guy,” I say to a long-ish blonde haired young man who has just emerged from the front door of the Space Gallery. That guy is Ty Segall! I had just spoken to band-mates, Charlie and Emily, who were waiting outside. To myself I thought Ty couldn’t be that far away. And here he is. In person, he is just as you’d imagine — well-spoken, friendly, and highly approachable. The kind of guy whom you can get away with saying “do you think you look like this dude over here???” to. Just like an old pal from high school. Well, that old pal might be in grad school or working a 9 to 5 in the big city. Who knows? Ty is a college grad indeed, but he’s accomplished far more things than most in that category have…at least creatively. And he’s only 24 or 25 (depending on who you ask…I’ve even seen 23, but it’s been 23 for a couple of years now…probably could have gotten away with asking him to clarify that).

Strange Boys: What is a typical fans prep work before a show? Whole days spent lounging by the record player or nothing at all? When I can, I like doing some homework, but this process can be like studying for a final…things could go sour if you wait just days before the big test day, but if you’ve been keeping up all along you most likely will be fine. And ‘being fine’ here just means recognizing and appreciating the set as something familiar. Brand new songs can mess this dynamic up slightly, but you know what I mean! I’ve seen the Strange Boys a couple of times before tonight — the first time at the House of Blues opening for Deerhunter and headliner Spoon and the second time at TT The Bears alongside the honorable Gentleman Jesse and His Men and Those Darlins. Those were enjoyable performances, but tonight the Boys seem to be more at ease than ever. In other words, great shit. They even arrived a bit late, but it’s not like anyone would’ve known that without a brief discourse with the sound guy. Ryan Sambol begins the set on guitar, plucking soulfully, and entertaining requests before taking a seat in front of his keyboard. Instead of a set list, they (or maybe just Ryan) opted to go with what felt right. Brother Phillip wanted some real songs and they came eventually, but not before a 30 second tease of Thee Oh Sees “The Dream” via indirect request (what does Portland like?), a little “Sweet Jane” fudging, and a spawning of Glenn Danzig. A girl in the crowd wanted “Laugh At Sex Not Her” and she sure got it. A faster than ever version. In the Strange Boys mix of original material there seemed to be a focus on Live Music, but older cuts were thrown into the mix. To me, they played with more power and tightness than I can recall. The bass was groovier, the guitar solos hit harder, and the drumming was spot-on. Ryan said he hopes to see the crowd come out again next time. They will.

White Fence: The mastermind behind White Fence is Tim Presley. Tim looks fresh out of work, buttoned down collared shirt, dress slacks, you know business casual. Tim’s line of work is rock and roll and the dress code is there isn’t one. So this is what being a rock and roll warrior is all about? God bless. It’s interesting to see him and his band perform – on record, the experience is mainly psychedelic, melodic, but not real crazy. During their set, however, the band is far heavier and immediate. On constant display is Tim’s guitar playing, which propels the band. Don’t get me wrong the other band members are instrumental, quite literally, but Tim is a machine. With such a shitload of material in the White Fence discography, I don’t recognize many of the songs and that’s a bit of a shame. The great thing is the fact that I was impressed and now want to really buckle down and get going with the band. I’ve got the set-list, and now you do too!

Mr. Adams
Who Feels Right
Swagger Vets and Double Moon
The Pool
Long White Curtain
Baxter Corner
Growing Faith
Enthusiasm
Mioclajs
Be Right Too
A Hermes Blues
Down PNX
Get That Heart
Sticky Fruitman Has Faith
Harness

Ty Segall: If you haven’t already gotten the vibes, Ty is one of my favorite musicians. Before this night, I had never seen him live. He was #1 must-see. In fact, I didn’t plan on going to this show until the last minute. How about that! So before the Ty Segall Band came up on stage, Tim on guitar, Mikal Cronin on bass, Nick Murray on drums, and Ty Segall on guitar graced the stage. These four performed two excellent tracks from Hair — “Time” and “Scissor People”. It was a perfect segue into the Band. They came out firing on all cylinders — the explosive entrance of distorted guitar in “Finger” set the course for the night. Heavy moshing, heavy pogo-ing. Heavy clapping. It was all making sense. Save some brief pauses in between songs, it felt like hit-after-hit. Non-stop crowd participation and loving. The three new songs — “Tell Me,” “Eyes,” and “Wave Goodbye” — that the band played off upcoming Slaughterhouse felt like old-time favorites. It makes the wait for that album all that more exciting. For me, I most enjoyed the ending of “Wave,” “The Floor,” “The Drag,” and “My Sunshine”. Consistently great moments. Some people started leaving after “My Sunshine,” and why would they do this? Did they think the band wouldn’t possibly be playing an encore?! Hope they came back because the Band sure did and played two songs. Which songs? I do not know. Maybe you do. They were fun. Perhaps a little “Caesar” or “Skin” to seal the deal would have been even better, but the Band did what they wanted to do. That’s great. This was a top concert experience for certain — I don’t remember being this excited to see a favorite band since maybe the Lips show back in ’09. They followed through on the excitement and then some. Check out all three bands, KLYAMers. You know that.

Ty Segall & White Fence Set-List:
Time
Scissor People

Ty Segall Set-List:
Finger
Doctor Doctor
Girlfriend
Imaginary Person
Cents
Standing At The Station
You Make The Sun Fry
Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart
I Bought My Eyes
Wave Goodbye
The Floor
The Drag
My Sunshine
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LP Review: “Hair” (Ty Segall and White Fence)

Release Date: 4-24-2012
Label: Drag City

Comments: The way to underground rock and roll stardom can be confusing sometimes. Not to mention that there isn’t much ‘star’ in the kingdom of balls out rock and roll. And nobody really cares. Ty Segall has been well on his way to worldwide recognition for a few years now but it has only been in the past two years that this is becoming more and more evident to people besides his Goner devotees and his West Coast pals and supporters. Another thing worth mentioning early on is that this isn’t solely a Ty affair. So starting off a review like I just did might have been more suitable for Goodbye Bread, but let me continue. Tim Presley of White Fence has been on a colossal pace in terms of releasing new material. Is it only in San Francisco where the self-proclaimed rock and roll warriors roam? Thee Oh Sees, Mikal Cronin, and now these two guys. Releasing stuff at a pace that would cause Jay Reatard to maybe even raise an eyebrow. Collaborations are rampant in the Bay Area as well. You knew that. That leaves us to Hair. Listening to this album from the get-go, it’s hard to not imagine the fun these guys had during this process. They create a pretty distinct setting on this record, which is near the geographic center of Ty’s most psychedelic Goodbye Bread stuff and White Fence’s are-you-sure-this-is-not-an-old-recording-of-’60s psych- stuff. Besides the rush of charged guitar solos and full-on drum bashing, this album isn’t totally different from say the Grateful Dead. Maybe I’m wrong, and there are only a couple examples (“Time”, “The Black Glove/Rag”) of this. Or whatever. “Crybaby” is the most concise example of rock and roll fever that I’ve heard from Segall since Bread. It’s incredible refreshing. There comes a point, too, listening to this record where you just have to wonder: what if rock ‘n roll was as popular as hip-hop and electro-pop? Not to turn this into a Nirvana kind of thing…I wasn’t around then (or at least not in the form of a capable, developed being) so to even ponder something like this is incredibly exciting. And yes I know Ty AND White Fence played on this record. It’s scary the talent that’s out there. Then there will be people who want to themselves Ty, they want their White Fence, their Oh Sees. Those days are over. Is that a bad thing? Ty and Tim have such a handle on things, that they can effortlessly fuck around with the left-right channels to make it sound like you are surfing through a TV set that only plays real RnR stations. An incredible TV set that is. That song is “Scissor People,” by the way. By the end of “Tongues,” all I’m left with is the sentiment of damn. This record is more of a statement than a batch of fun-loving ditties a la Matador Singles ’08 or Arabia Mountain, to name a couple. It’s a statement that things can be subtle and low-key or things can be brash and in your face. It’s all good! The un-expected ending of “Time” is case and point. It seems like most of the greats get around to realizing this — looking at you Jay. Another thing is that Hair probably didn’t take much thought. Not the little organ part at the end of “I Am Not A Game”, not the increasing chaos of the other two guitars. It’s crazy to think. I wasn’t the biggest “I Am Not A Game” fan when it was first released to the general public, but listening to it in context can really change things. “Easy Ryder” is like revisiting Melted, but with a new perspective on lead guitars and the guitar solo construct in general. Is that not amazing? Hair is insane. A KLYAMer would be crazy to not check this out. Hope you speak as highly of this as I do!

Grade: A/A+

“Easy Ryder”