There are a lot of exciting albums coming out this summer. One of them is Lesser Oceans by Fences.
Christopher Mansfield is Fences. I saw him open for Against Me! at the Masquerade Atlanta in 2011. During the drive home, the coma of bruises, body odor, and ear-ringing muted every thought but one: I wanted to listen to Fences. I drove in silence trying to remember what he sounded like.
So I did what any web-savvy millennial would do. I Googled “fences band,” and soon enough I had the entirety of Fences’ first album pulled up on a Bandcamp music player.
Go ahead, give it a listen. That album is gentle, honest, and all those other things that are great when you want to feel vulnerable. It was produced by Sara Quin. She’s the “Sara” in Tegan and Sara.
Those of you who are more attentive to indie rap might recognize Fences’ soft-sung vocals from the intro to Macklemore’s Otherside.
(You don’t have to watch the whole thing. Just the first bit until the singing stops, just enough to get the gist of it. )
Sometimes Fences tweets about what it’s like working with such a popular artist!
“Just because I work with Macklemore doesn’t mean I want sad white boys spamming me with their rap. Sorry you sound like shit. Bye. Cool?”
Which brings me to his Twitter: @FFEENNCCEESS. It can be a dark place. His tweets oscillate between the abrasive:
“Holy shit American Idol makes me want to start a fire with all my guitars as wood and throw myself in it.”
“Stop blowing those noise maker horn things in my hallway. I know you’re working through some issues and this means a lot to you but stop.”
“The Oscars huh? I’ll be smoking in my bathtub listening to Tutu by Miles Davis. Seen enough bow ties and gowns in my life.”
“tried stealing a horse head from a billionaires house last and ended up rolling in hay kissing a dad from wales. life is fucked.”
“Tweeting from under a bed in a place with many trees. Fire hazard cigarettes and climbing giant bones to avoid the flood. My reality, now.”
“I keep having recurring dreams about the soft spot behind the same girls knee. I touch it and then flood waters come or I die from drugs.”
“Every once in a while 80 year old shit faced polish guys from Greenpoint wander a little too far and end up in Williamsburg. I LOVE THEM.”
“music is a fountain pen with an antenna attached to it.”
“Just put on Haddaway, What Is Love really loud and danced till I couldn’t breathe. I recommend it.”
and the profound:
“I’m no fashion expert but I would say wear whatever makes you feel brave and or invisible.”
“Yes, I know I am a cry baby and selfish ego maniac who seeks trivial sadness to feed his self imposed image. So are you.”
“Can’t a twitter be dark and vague without it being a cry for help? Life is non-linear and complicated and grey.”
But whatever Fences says, you know he’s being sincere. He signed to Elektra this year, but that doesn’t change a thing. That only helps him reach more people. This is what music is made from. Genre: Human Being.
I.. am not ok.
wait. im ok. or… no. hey guys this is hard on me. cool? is that ok to feel that?
It’s just… this was my bedroom band. songs for girls. now were on a major label. but listen…
I will ALWAYS play what I want and for the ears of the slouched soul. Trust me. I am with you. Skin, chords and watering eyes.
I’ll be alright I just feel overwhelmed. thank you for listening . bdndjdishdbejshdbdbd
With all that being said, I love Fences. The casual tenderness and painstaking honesty leave a mark in your mind you won’t soon forget. I want to hear Lesser Oceans, but I’ll settle for happy suspense until it’s ready.
“While I recognize it is a blessing to have eager ears I also only feel anxiety when I am aggressively told to release music.”
Christopher Mansfield is Fences. He graduated from the Berklee School of Music, and he loves dogs. Listen to his art sounds.
“For real I am thankful to all who get something out of our music. I love that and I love you. Trust me.”