Posts Tagged ‘Sunderland’

Like so many of plans made in the past year, “Flat White Moon” started out as one thing and evolved into another. After the complexities of touring 2018’s Open Here, which required a bigger live band to cover the expansive arrangements, and then 2020’s Making A New World, which was performed as one continuous piece with a synchronised visual accompaniment, Field Music’s newest album began with the desire to play and to have fun.

On “Flat White Moon” Field Music takes on the challenge of representing negative emotions in a way that doesn’t dilute or obscure them but which can still uplift. The result is a generous record of bounteous musical ideas, in many ways Field Music’s most immediately gratifying release to date.

“We want to make people feel good about things that we feel terrible about.” says David Brewis, who has co-led the band Field Music with his brother Peter since 2004. It’s a statement which seems particularly fitting to their latest album, Flat White Moon released on 23 April via Memphis Industries.

Sporadic sessions for the album began in late 2019 at the pair’s studio in Sunderland, slotted between rehearsals and touring. The initial recordings pushed a looser performance aspect to the fore, inspired by some of their very first musical loves; Free, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles; old tapes and LPs pilfered from their parents’ shelves. But a balance between performance and construction has always been an essential part of Field Music. By March 2020, recording had already begun for most of the album’s tracks and, with touring for Making A New World winding down, Peter and David were ready to plough on and finish the record.

The playfulness that’s evident in much of Flat White Moon’s music became a way to offset the darkness and the sadness of many of the lyrics. Much of the album is plainly about loss and grief, and also about the guilt and isolation which comes with that.

We are delighted to share with you news of Field Music’s new album Flat White Moon, released on 23rd April 2021, featuring new single No Pressure and already out there Orion From the Street. 

Peter and David Brewis have been releasing records as Field Music for over 15 years, and in that time a few things about their music has been constant: it’s all erudite and thoughtful, it’s all wonderfully melodic in a very “raised on Paul McCartney” way, and the music is performed and recorded with a clinical precision. Their best songs make the most of their raw skill and stoic formalism, and their more forgettable work strains against the limitations of their apparent repression and uptight musical inclinations.

“Orion on the Street” is definitely in the former category. It’s a song about death and mourning the loss of someone close, and it’s very much written from the “acceptance” stage of grief. The sorts of messy emotions that would characterize the other stages wouldn’t be the best fit for the Brewis aesthetic, but the brothers are exceptionally well suited to capture the graceful clarity of processing loss and seeing some beauty in someone moving on, even if you’re a bit agnostic on what actually comes next. A sparkly piano part and a very George Harrison-y lead guitar part are the most musically beautiful parts of the song, but the most lovely sentiment comes when they reckon with the notion of the afterlife: “Belief in further lives / separate, but true / if I thought you were anywhere / I would be there too.”

The band wrote: “Here’s the video for our new song Orion From The Street, put together by Peter and our multitasking guitar/synth/design whizzkid Kev. Cleadon Mill never looked so cosmic (except to those teens on shrooms back in the day)”.

A new, as yet unnamed album has also been announced for release later in the year.

Like all involved in the arts and culture sector, Roxy Girls haven’t been able to pursue their passion for performing live since March. During the slight reprieve between lockdowns, however, the four-piece were able to reunite to record a new EP. The four-track record has been released as a limited edition vinyl, with 75% of profits going towards Sunderland Foodbanks, who’ve provided a lifeline service to the city’s most vulnerable during the pandemic. Made up of Tom Hawick on lead vocals and guitar; Isaac Hirshfield-Wight on guitar and vocals; Matthew Collerton on bass and Aidan Rowan on drums, the band had already built up a firm following in their native Sunderland and were gaining real momentum, with their first headline UK tour booked, before lockdown hit.

Tom, who founded the band with Isaac after the pair met as teenagers at the city’s Pop Recs culture hub, said: “We had the opportunity to finally get together in August and it was very much needed. We’ve all been doing our own musical endeavours in lockdown, but that was the first time we could actually get together. As performers, our entire life has been turned on its head and it’s been really difficult.

Recorded over two much needed days at First Avenue Studios, Newcastle Upon Tyne. The Effect of Tomorrow was only meant to have 100 vinyls pressed, but after all 100 were pre-ordered, subscription service Flying Vinyl donated a further 100 to the cause, with around 90 of those left. Discordant mackems in every which way.

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Tom lives with Isaac and the pair already have a backlog of songs written during lockdown, which they’re hoping to be able to perform with the rest of the band for audiences next year.

The singer said: “Having such a backlog of songs is one positive to come out of this and puts us in a really good position for when we’re coming into our first album. We’re confident we’ll be doing gigs again next year and we’re already getting offers in for next summer. Rather than rescheduled dates, they’re new offers, which is great.”

*The Effect of Tomorrow limited edition pink vinyl is £6.99 and is available from the Roxy Girls Bandcamp page.

Released November 23rd, 2020

Written and produced by The Roxy Girls

The Roxy Girls are,

Tom Hawick – Guitar and Vocals
Isaac Hirshfield-Wight – Guitar and Vocals
Aidan Rowan – Drums and Percussion
Matthew Collerton – Bass and Turner Rollies

 
‘A Wealth Of Information’ sees Roxy Girls expand on their unique and idiosyncratic take on the post-punk format. Whilst the band still conveys the same breathless intensity and intricacy in their instrumentation, the new material also finds them developing on their stripped-back sound and experimenting with warmer and more densely structured dynamics. Whereas ‘A Poverty Of Attention’ introduced Roxy Girls high-energy and mordacious lyrical humour to the world, ‘A Wealth Of Information’ exemplifies a more considered insight to the band. Whilst the musicianship is still largely rooted in hook-driven indie-rock territory, the new EP shows a very natural evolution of a sound that has become completely their own.

Speaking about the new EP, Tom Hawick (frontman) says, “A progression in musicianship and technicality, A Wealth Of Information takes A Poverty Of Attention and flips it on its head. Focusing on the tropes of 21st century living and the mundanity that comes with it, these songs focus on themes that have, in one way or another, affected each mortal modern human life.”

Sunderland band, Roxy Girls consists of… boys and kit on his A wealth of information, released by Moshi Moshi Records, a good string of pieces of post-punk obedience, nervous and no frills although not hesitating, within a single essay, to change lanes. Active, in terms of releases, since 2017, the English have been plotting with Dirtier, establishing a punk emergency, recalling Parquet Courts and touching the impact. Commands ,just as jerky and in between, evokes Gang of Four for the raw riffs a tad funky, and demonstrates that here, it seems that we came across a bunch of four guys who do things without derailing, with a youthful spirit that makes them win, again, in impact. You Have To Waste Your Time (if it’s to listen to this skeud, it won’t be a waste of time), based on a similar approach, also unfusses on a short time that makes it all the more efficient. Poor Cow, at first hesitant, then sets up his jolts without softness, his songs allied to the snatch. We’re a taker.

The sketch takes well, it sends itself a draft. Suddenly, she breaks, slightly tempers the ardour of the men. The droid features chatty guitars, one of the advantages of the quartet of Tom  Vocals/Six String, Matthew  Four String, Aidan  Drums/Cowbell, and Isaac  Vox/Six String. By regaling us with their late 70’s impulses, with a rough modernism, the young wolves display real virtues.

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All talk, its riffs and dry rhythms, confirms. This is a reliable tape, whose work betrays nothing wrong. It sends continuously, nuanced by remaining in excellence. At Moshi Moshi, it is rare for the product to smell bland. The proof here is assailed, with a noticeable aplomb. Get Up (Seize The Day), carried by the “high energy” mentioned on the Bandcamp of Roxy Girls, completes the work without crumbling. From a block, A Wealth of information reveals tense and vigorous tracks, crossed by a beautiful inspiration.

At the end, and after replay, we will go to explore the previous releases of the clique, while keeping an eye on the products of his laudable label. This one offers indeed, and in frequency, a nice scramble of records that deserve an extended stay in our readers of his indies.

Released June 5th, 2020

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Sunderland based post-punk 4-piece Roxy Girls have shared their new single Get Up (Seize The Day).

The single is the second to be taken from their new seven track EP A Wealth Of Information, It’s a two and a half minute gem of perfectly judged indie with guitar lines sharp enough to cut yourself on.

“Get Up (Seize The Day) shares a message that is equally as important to our lives as to everyone else’s. People overthink and feel that some days their peers would do better without their presence, but often all it takes is that one footstep out of bed towards that first sip of shitty instant coffee to lay the foundation for a new, brighter day.

“Get Up (Seize The Day)” is taken from Roxy Girls‘ much-anticipated new EP ‘A Wealth Of Information’, which is out tomorrow via Moshi Moshi Records:

So here it is. 5 years on, a new School of Language record. A concept album about the 45th President of the United States. Songs about Cambridge Analytica, Hillary Clinton, Rex Tillerson, North Korean foreign policy and the limits of the Goldwater Rule. This one is mostly a list of things Donald Trump has claimed to be amazing at.

I hope you all enjoy the songs, despite the subject matter, and the beautiful artwork by Elliot Elam, despite the subject matter. And, of course, I hope Western civilisation hasn’t crumbled by the time you get your copy. Hope to see you all soon on whichever School of Language or Field Music adventure comes next. Now I’m off to finish my new song, “On The Oranges of Species”.

Thanks for listening
David

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It’s four years since Prince left us. Over these past few exceedingly odd weeks, I’ve been thinking about him; picturing him alone in the studio, running a drum machine through guitar pedals, layering vocals, churning out song after song, maybe with an engineer looking through the glass but nevertheless in a bubble of isolation. I couldn’t bring myself to cover his songs. I love the complete package – the playing and the production and the imperfections – just too much to tinker with. But I thought that maybe I could keep myself on the level by writing my own Prince songs. Maybe a little batch which would have been left in the vault back in ’81 because they sounded “too Prince” and he’d already moved on. So this is my little tribute, a digital EP called I Could Have Loved U Better available on Bandcamp as a pay what you like affair.

David Brewis of Field Music at his least collaborative. There were six years between Sea From Shore and Old Fears.

Band Members
David Brewis

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The collected works of Peter and David Brewis

Field Music’s live performance at Tapestry Club, St Aloysius Church, Camden, February 2006. Recorded by Tom Goldsmith. Thanks to Barry Stilwell.
Released March 23rd, 2020

Big news from FMHQ: We’ve accidentally made a new album – it’s called “Making A New World” and it’ll be out for your delectation in January 2020. And…err…it’s pretty much a concept album about the aftermath of the First World War. Wait! Come back! It’s not THAT kind of concept album! Honestly!

The songs grew from a project for the Imperial War Museum and were first performed at their sites in Salford and London in January 2019. The starting point was an image from a 1919 publication on munitions by the US War Department, made using “sound ranging”, a technique that utilised an array of transducers to capture the vibrations of gunfire at the front. These vibrations were displayed on a graph, similar to a seismograph, where the distances between peaks on different lines could be used to pinpoint the location of enemy armaments. This particular image showed the minute leading up to 11am on 11th November 1918, and the minute immediately after. One minute of oppressive, juddering noise and one minute of near-silence. “We imagined the lines from that image continuing across the next hundred years,” says the band’s David Brewis, “and we looked for stories which tied back to specific events from the war or the immediate aftermath. If the original intention might have been to create a mostly instrumental piece, this research forced and inspired a different approach. These were stories itching to be told.

The songs are in a kind of chronological order, starting with the end of the war itself; the uncertainty of heading home in a profoundly altered world (“Coffee or Wine”). Later we hear a song about the work of Dr Harold Gillies (the shimmering ballad, “A Change of Heir”), whose pioneering work on skin grafts for injured servicemen led him, in the 1940s, to perform some of the very first gender reassignment surgeries. We see how the horrors of the war led to the Dada movement and how that artistic reaction was echoed in the extreme performance art of the 60s and 70s (the mathematical head-spin of “A Shot To The Arm”). And then in the funk stomp of Money Is A Memory, we picture an office worker in the German Treasury preparing documents for the final instalment on reparation debts – a payment made in 2010, 91 years after the Treaty of Versailles was signed. A defining, blood-spattered element of 20th century history becomes a humdrum admi nistrative task in a 21st century bureaucracy.

We’ve done songs about ultrasound and about shooting yourself for the sake of art and about gender reassignment surgery and about Becontree housing estate. We’ve even done a party tune about sanitary pads, called Only In A Man’s World, which is now streaming in all of the usual places  (huge thanks to Lauren Laverne and BBC 6 Music for giving it its first airing this morning.) If you want Only in a Man’s World with a side order of facts about the invention of sanitary towels head on over to our YouTube now.

Only In A Man’s World is taken from the new Field Music album “Making a New World”, to be released on 10th January 2020.

Making a New World can be pre-ordered on limited edition signed red transparent vinyl, CD, cassette and download from our shop along with the first ever FIELD MUSIC MUG (which you can dry with the Open Here tea towel). The usual discounted pre-order bundles are available; just look at these beauties:

Tourdates : 9 Nov – Dundee, Neon at Night 01 Feb – Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery 21 Feb – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms 22 Feb – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club 27 Feb – Whitley Bay, Playhouse 28 Feb – Manchester, Dancehouse 29 Feb – London, EartH

Field Music return with their sixth album, Open Here. The two years since Commontime have been strange and turbulent. If you thought the world made some kind of sense, you may have questioned yourself a few times in the past two years. And that questioning, that erosion of faith – in people, in institutions, in shared experience – runs through every song on Field Music’s new album.

But there’s no gloom here. For Peter and David Brewis, playing together in their small riverside studio has been a joyful exorcism. Open Here is the last in a run of five albums made at the studio, an unprepossessing unit on a light industrial estate in Sunderland. Whilst the brothers weren’t quite tracking while the wrecking balls came, the eviction notice received in early 2017 gave the brothers a sense of urgency in the recording of Open Here. There probably won’t be many other rock records this year, or any year, which feature quite so much flute and flugelhorn (alongside the saxophones, string quartet and junk box percussion). But somehow or other, it comes together. Over thirteen years and six albums, Field Music have managed to carve a niche where all of these sounds can find a place; a place where pop music can be as voracious as it wants to be.

Taken from the upcoming album ‘Open Here’ (out 2nd February 2018) catch the band at , Nottingham, Rough Trade 7th February

Peter and David Brewis, playing together in their small riverside studio has been a joyful exorcism. “Open Here” is the last in a run of five albums made at their studio, an unprepossessing unit on a light industrial estate in Sunderland. whilst the brothers weren’t quite tracking while the wrecking balls came, the eviction notice received in early 2017 gave the brothers a sense of urgency in the recording of Open Here.

The studio became a sanctuary away from everything political and personal, a cocoon of creativity. and conversely, making the album became an alternative way to connect to people, with a wide array of musicians invited to leave their mark, notably Sarah Hayes on flute and piccolo, Liz Corney on vocals, Pete Fraser on saxophone, Simon Dennis on trumpet and flugelhorn, a Cornshed Sisters choir and the regular string quartet of Ed Cross, Jo Montgomery, Chrissie Slater and Ele Leckie. the result is a record that is bigger in scale, grander than anything they’ve done before. David explains, “where commontime felt like a distillation of all of the elements that make up Field Music, this feels like an expansion; as if we’re pushing in every direction at once to see how far we can go”.

Album opener, Time in joy, Turns Dark Times into sparkling funk, and might even have earned another acknowledgement from a sadly-departed purple superstar in happier circumstances. Count It Up’s wry critique of privilege bounces along like an upside-down material girl. checking on a message could be on the apocalyptic party playlist the morning after any number of recent voting catastrophes. Peter says the song “is about being too confident that world events will go the way you expect them to. and then getting bad news from a mobile phone”.

wrestling with politics has gone hand in hand with wrestling with parenthood. if we can’t make sense of the world for ourselves, how do we do it for our kids? share a pillow is the eye-rolling, eye-rubbing product of one too many nights playing musical beds, turning the pitter-patter of tiny feet into a bludgeoning baritone stomp. no king no princess is a barbed two-fingered salute to gender stereotypes. David again: “my little boy was born not long before we started making Commontime and my baby girl was born just before we started making Open Here. people tend to ascribe every perceived difference between them to their gender. the ‘princess’ thing is so weird to me – it’s such a passive aspiration. i wanted to write a song for my kids which says you can throw all of those expectations out of the window if you want to.”

On a few tracks, the melancholy finds a way to seep through. front of house says a too-late goodbye to a good friend gone far too soon. daylight saving wistfully laments having the time to be a couple when you’re preoccupied with being parents. and then on the final song, find a way to keep me, an imploring whisper builds to a wild, hurtling clangour, with flute and trumpet and strings diving and trilling around each other. it’s the grandest music the brothers have ever made.

 

There probably won’t be many other rock records this year, or any year, which feature quite so much flute and flugelhorn (alongside the saxophones, string quartet and junk box percussion). but somehow or other, it comes together. Over thirteen years and six albums, Field Music have managed to carve a niche where all of these sounds can find a place; a place where pop music can be as voracious as it wants to be.

Take a listen to Time in Joy, the second song from our upcoming album Open Here.