White Fence continues the psychedelic garage trend in SF

Photos by Michael Frash at the Bonfire Sessions 9.30.12

San Francisco is clearly leading the way in the psychedelic garage movement that has been sweeping indie rock for the past few years. Whether it’s Wavves’ bratty surf rock, or the twisted antics that are the Black Lips, it is evident that the talent in the Bay Area is taking it way further. The likes of Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and the Fresh and Onlys have been garnering national attention, and the latest group to step up to the plate is Tim Presley, popularly known as White Fence.

Riding the critical success of his recent double release Family Perfume Vol. 1 and 2, Presley brought his ever-changing band members to a well attended show at the Rickshaw Stop last Friday evening. Support act The Mallard brought some local flavor to a mixed bill with yet another take on the fuzzed-out genre. White Fence shared the headlining duties with another buzzed act, Twerps, hailing from Australia.

Twerps have been making the international loop rather frequently touring behind a successful self titled album. Their sound leans more on a 90s alternative-grunge coupled with some breezy reverb as demonstrated on song, “Dreamin,” a crowd favorite.

White Fence came on stage quickly, and jumped out the gates with a heater, “Swagger vets & Double moon.” However, as Presley has expanded his guitar and drums duo into a four piece, there have been numerous personnel changes, and new rhythm guitar player was not in time with the Presley. Luckily, this issue alleviated early in the set. Having been a key member of former psych-wave group, Darker My Love, Presley is desperately trying to get his sound the full attention that it deserves.

The sound at these shows leans between the shredding blitz guitar style, a la John Dwyer of Thee oh Sees, and the heavy use of slide giving a bluesier feel. This, coupled with Presley’s tendency to sing in a style akin to 60s garage-punk made popular by Syd Barrett, makes White Fence’s sound stand out in rising tide of Bay Area rock. “Enthusiasm” lived up to it’s name, full of power chords and the English-style of swagger that the thin front man serves up so well.

A favorite track, “Sticky Fruitman Has Faith,” had Presley gyrating near his amp to create the perfect feedback for a truly assaulting solo that went on an odyssey, something this Phish fan couldn’t help but smile at. It’s wonderful how much life Presley injects into these songs, as the jangly cassette-tape quality of their recordings are traded in for piercing, well-delivered garage rock.

Having recorded and toured with Ty Segall this past year, one but can’t wonder how far Presley will take his deep songbook once he finds a band that can keep up with his mad genius process which unravels on stage for the lucky few.


  1. Writer’s note:
    I realize Wavves and Black Lips aren’t SF bands, and I use them as a lesser comparison to the Bay Area sound.

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