Passion Weiss - Whitewashing the Fence: White Fence’s ‘It Will Never Be’ and the Subjectivity of Influence


Indie rock fans are an interesting breed. While rap and electronic music steadfastly push forward progression (at least lately), indie rock circa 2012 rarely produces anything substantial that doesn’t mine nostalgia for the near past. Whether its Cloud Nothings and Jimmy Eat World, The Men and the Replacements, or Yuck and every band in the 1993 MTV Buzz Bin, critical acclaim is often how well you synthesize the teen favorites of the average indie critic between the ages of 27 and 40. A lot of Pavement never hurt no one.

If you don’t rock a retro Sub Pop pin, you might be dumbfounded at what passes for the cream of the crop of contemporary indie rock. Sure, great bands like Grizzly Bear get lavish acclaim, but then they’re on Warp — an electronic label. More often, we receive polite recreations of a once-great vanished era and are told that this is the new-new, when in fact, it’s the same song (word to Shock G). To translate this to rap terms, this would be like if 9th Wonder had been the recipient of widespread critical adulation. Okay, that happened. But I think that the fact that no one bitched when we left him off even the Honorable Mentions of our Greatest Producer List means that we have all agreed to atone for our sins.

Don’t get me wrong. White Fence aren’t exactly reinventing the whammy bar. But I’m far more copacetic to this strain of Douglas Martin Music than most of the swill that passes for guitar-fed sustenance. Hell, I’d rather be Peg Bundy binging on Bon Bons than have to hear Bon Iver’s soft-voiced sibilance again (the first album was cool though).

White Fence frontman, Tim Presley,  occasionally of Darker My Love, ditches the face-slapping hard psych of his old band for a kinder, gentler disorientation. I hear a little Revolver-era Beatles, some Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and a lot of early Kinks. You’d never guess that dude once backed The Fall. Is this objectively better than the other indie shit that I scorn? I’m not sure. It certain appeals more to my drug-addled instincts and it’s melodic and catchy. None of this is wildly original, so I suppose it’s a matter of what better soundtracks a spliff. As much as we want to pretend this shit is a science, it’s not. What you enjoy depends on what type of a person you are and what you think constitutes a pretty nice haircut. And if you think both sides are unnecessarily nostalgic, there’s always that Schoolboy Q record.

MP3: White Fence-”It Will Never Be”

MP3: White Fence- “I’ll Follow You”
MP3: White Fence- “Be Right Too”