Posts Tagged ‘Chris Porterfield’

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Field Report’s new album Summertime Songs featuring “Never Look Back” and “If I Knew” is available now: Centering around the narrative songs of Chris Porterfield (formerly of DeYarmond Edison with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon).

Summertime Songs is Field Report’s third and most expansive album, following in the vein of Wilco, The National, and The War On Drugs. Named in honor of the season of its creation, Summertime Songs is a chronicle of disintegrating relationships – including the one that’s governing what’s left of our democracy.

It’s been a few years since the acclaimed Milwaukee band, Field Report, released a new album. But the wait is finally over. The group is releasing its third album, “Summertime Songs,”.

In the lead up to the album drop, the group has been busy. They opened for their friends (and former bandmates) Bon Iver at the 10th anniversary show for “For Emma, Forever Ago” at Milwaukee’s BMO Bradley Center. They also played some shows at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, this month.

Plus, the band recently stopped by Wisconsin Public Radio to play a couple tracks off “Summertime Songs,” and Field Report founding member, lead singer, and guitarist Christopher Porterfield

Porterfield has a good reason for the three-plus year wait on the new album. While he was recording the new record, he became a father. Lately, he’s been a stay-at-home dad to his 1-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Jane.

“Before her, it was all music. Since her, it’s been all her,” said Porterfield. “Now, we’re muddying the waters a bit here, we’ll see how it plays out and see how those two things coexist.”

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Porterfield has been the only consistent member on each of the Field Report albums. Joining him on “Summertime Songs” is Thomas Wincek on keys, Barry Paul Clark on bass, and Devin Drobka on drums.

This band is amazing. I’ve never played with a group of people like them beforeThis band is amazing. I’ve never played with a group of people like them before,” said Porterfield. “They were all fundamental in how this record came out. It was a very collaborative process. (We were) responding to one another’s energy and ideas.”

“I’ve never gotten more blinding, exhilarating, thrilling, exciting energy than making music with these guys. So, from the beginning of recording this record, this was not a, ‘Hey guys, come on over! I have a bunch of completed songs I’d like you to dress up.’ It was, ‘OK, I’m going to throw some stuff down in the studio and you react to it and I’ll react to that and so on.

“It was like a collaborative painting studio where we would just show up and knew we could get consistently good light, and we had the time and tools to work and just start layering things and sculpting things and adding things on and pulling things away and throwing things out and starting over. Then going back to the garbage and wonder, ‘Oh, maybe that wasn’t so bad,’ and then repurposing it. Suddenly, it’s not a painting anymore, it’s part of the sculpture.”

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The band’s sound adjusted for this new material. In the past, Field Report staked its name on the singer-songwriter’s M.O.: poetically charged lyricism confessed against an earnest guitar. On Summertime Songs, the bands casts its net wide, drawing in synths, up-tempo rhythms, and chromatic crescendos to electrify Porterfield’s lyricism with a resounding crackle. The opening song “Blind Spot” magnetically captures the moment a person can change another’s life. Porterfield describes himself in terms of space—“This heart is a cold cave, my mind is a parking lot”—but in recounting those absent places, he failed to account for the presence lingering in one. “You were in my blind spot,” he sings on the hook, the band’s backing vocals adding a touch of shoegaze.

Out this week, Summertime Songs is a remarkable step forward for Field Report, electrifying their music with a fresh undercurrent of emotion. Worry and talk—and talk about worry—have a special place within the singer-songwriter tradition, but so does physicality, movement, and life. “I love you in the low light baby, but let’s dance,” Porterfield sings.

The opening conversation in “Summertime Songs” is somebody asking  “Why don’t you try summertime songs?’ and all of the things that that implies, which would be maybe more simplicity, maybe a little more upbeat, maybe a little less verbose. So there’s that, and then also me doubting my ability to be a good parent and maintain sobriety, and be as good as required for that kind of thing. It’s a bit Springsteen, it’s a big Arcade Fire, it’s a bit LCD Soundsystem, it goes into some soaring U2 stuff at the end, all tongue in cheek at first, but then it tied into this thing that felt right.

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The Milwaukee musicians first drew attention back in 2012, when the unsigned group performed at the South by Southwest festival. Things took off later that year with the release of their self-titled debut album. The band’s third full-length album, “Summertime Songs” comes out next month. Field Report, fronted by Chris Porterfield (a former member of Justin Vernon’s DeYarmond Edison), released their self-titled debut album in 2012 and Marigolden in 2014.

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Wisconsin-based group Field Report will release their new album Summertime Songs on March 23rd via Verve Forecast, and here is the album track “Blind Spot,” a song about realizing our connection to those around us. ‘Blind Spot’ is about being reminded that we don’t live in a vacuum,” the band says. “Self-destruction doesn’t just destroy ourselves. There are a lot of open spaces that we think are empty only to realize that we aren’t alone. And that our self-focus can take others out in the process.”

Blind Spot is about being surprised to discover that other people are suffering the consequences of our actions too, and how naive it is that it can us take so long to realize that.

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Field Report have been one of the most steadfast contributors to the Wisconsin music scene that birthed Bon Iver. (Head honcho Chris Porterfield played in DeYarmond Edison with Justin Vernon in the years before Vernon’s fateful cabin trip.) The band will return this year with third album Summertime Songs, and lead single “Never Look Back” signifies some subtle but significant changes in their approach. It’s the sort of hearty folk-rock we’ve come to expect from Porterfield, but also, is that a talkbox I hear on the bridge? Like the song says, we must plunge fearlessly into the future. OK, technically, the title does not refer to musical evolution, as Porterfield explains:

“Never Look Back” is about those people we find ourselves inexplicably drawn to and then entangled with. The narrator tries to give this other person the benefit of the doubt, because, hey, something about them was appealing in the beginning. But the constant drama and disappointment leads them to discover that if you can walk away from the car crash, you have to walk away. And never look back. It’s a celebration of self-preservation.​

‘Summertime Songs,’ out March 23rd:

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With a new album due on Partisan Records FIELD REPORT a band from Milwaukee fronted by Chris Porterfield began in 2012 this is their second album, The record is strewn with the toll of passages of time and being away from loved ones