“Wings” is the first new song by Field Report, the Milwaukee band led by singer-songwriter Chris Porterfield. The band releases its new album, Marigolden, on October 7th on Partisan Records. The band’s sophomore release more than satisfies the longing we’ve had for more music after being so thoroughly blown away by their 2012 self-titled debut. This time around Field Reports adds more of the right rhythms, synths, flourishes of electronica and musical depth into their carefully executed “folk” rock songs. One listen to “Wings” is all you need to hear the direction Porterfield goes in, and the musical maturity is stunning. At the heart of Field Report’s songs are his voice – yearning, aching, compromised, hurt, yet optimistic – and his acoustic guitar. Like Jose Gonzalez’s Junip, who build their touched-by-electronica songs on the sound of a six string or a keyboard, “Wings” does in a similar manner. The song starts with a soft keyboard, builds in emotion with some intricate acoustic guitar playing, the click track and beats seemingly randomly kick in, and once established, the synths blend in and the song builds with suspense and tension. Porterfield is the master at the “simmer as boil.” He understands how to take a song just to the edge of capturing the emotion he wants with the music his band is performing. While Stereogum called the song “the closest Field Report has ever sounded to Radiohead,” the comparisons to a song like “Fragile” by Sting are more appropriate, in that Porterfield brings his unique storytelling craft and musical warmth into the mix, as well as his own sense of ambient “Radioheadness” on this new song.
Below, download “Wings.”
Red Baraat are the newest additions to this year’s XPoNential Music Festival line-up, happening at Wiggins Park in July. The eight-piece world music group were featured on the latest XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week with “Burning Instinct.” Stream and download the song below and learn more about the festival here.
If you haven’t been listening to Milwaukee’s Field Report by now, here’s your chance to make it up with no hard feelings from me (but do it quick). There are only a handful of musicians and bands that I nebulously define as having “that Folkadelphia sound,” meaning that our radio show was created to support and share music exactly like this, like Field Report is making. These “Folkadelphia sounding” bands bridge the gaps not only between various folk music traditions, past and present, but also between other genres, technologies, and artistic disciplines. The end result is an inventive amalagamation of ideas that push at the boundaries of what we think of as being a songwriter and being a folk musician.
I first met Christopher Porterfield, Field Report’s singer and writer, about two years ago when his previous musical outfit, Conrad Plymouth, was visiting Philadelphia. Even in their stripped down band configuration and playing a different repertoire of songs, it was apparent that Porterfield was on a path to becoming a singular songwriter. In Field Report’s debut eponymous album, intricate and striking narratives, full of rich characterization, literary allusions, and philosophical musings are balanced by a fairly hook-laden approach to keep the listeners’ attention without getting too heavy-handed. Painted over with a nostalgic brush, Porterfield’s singing and the band’s music hit all of the right emotional points- seething loneliness, uncertain introspection, all which often builds to an impassioned head. Listening to the band, you get the sense that you’re living through Porterfield and his characters’ memories, faded at the edges by the passage of time, imbued with imagination’s coloring. Porterfield tells the stories as he remembers them, not how they really happened.
Since our session with Porterfield’s previous band, we have seen the advent of Field Report, the release of their debut record, and a handful of stops in the city for live shows (including last year’s XPoNential Music Festival). Here for our latest Folkadelphia Session, we welcomed Field Report, who were playing as a trio (with Ben Lester on steel guitar, Shane Leonard on drums, banjo, and vocals, and Porterfield) to the XPN Performance Studio before their concert on March 29th at the Tin Angel with Sara Watkins (who will be featured as our next week’s Folkadelphia Session). The session consists of two tracks from the band’s debut and two new tracks – a taste of what’s to come from them.
Oxfordian Oxonian folk / pop group Stornoway headline Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Following up their 2010 debut Beachcomber’s Windowsill, the academically-minded quartet (led by an ornithologist) released Tales from Terra Firma earlier this month. Field Report continue to tour in support of last year’s self-titled debut. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here. Watch Stornoway’s video for “Knock Me On the Head” below.
Several local musicians come together at The Blockley tonight for a concert benefiting Lentil Fest. Tommy Conwell, Pete Donnelly, Ben Arnold and Travel Lanes will perform sets in support of Lentil the French bulldog, who was born with a cleft palate. All proceeds will be donated to a variety of charities including the French Bulldog Rescue Network and the Children’s Craniofacial Association. Tickets and information can be found here. Below, watch Pete Donnelly’s video for “Can’t Talk At All.”
West Philadelphia Orchestra brings their monthly Balkan dance party back to Underground Arts tonight. As a collective of Philadelphia musicians, WPO blends traditional Eastern European influences withe modern jazz and classical sensibilities. Tickets and more information for tonight’s 21+ show with Johnny Showcase and the Lefty Lucy Cabaret can be found here or on the Facebook event page here. Watch West Philadelphia Orchestra perform “Burkan Cocek” below.
Field Report stopped by Dollhouse Studios in Savannah, Georgia recently while at the Savannah Stopover Music Festival. The Wisconsin folk group recorded alternate versions of album favorites “I Am Not Waiting Anymore” and “Fergus Falls” in addition to previewing a new song called “40/40.” Field Report will open for Stornoway at Kung Fu Necktie this Thursday, May 2nd. Tickets and information for the 21+ can be found here. Stream “40/40″ below and listen to the full session here.
Wisconsin’s Field Report have been added as support to Stornoway‘s Kung Fu Necktie show, bringing the folk project of Chris Porterfield back to Philadelphia in support of their 2012 debut album. Tickets and information for the 21+ show on Thursday, May 2nd are available here. Listen back to Field Report’s appearance on World Cafe here and watch their Out Of Town Films video for “Fergus Falls” below, recorded during last year’s XPoNential Music Festival.
Annachristie Sadler brings her new project Murchant to Puck Live in Doylestown tonight. Formerly one third of local folk collaborators Sisters 3, Sadler’s musical history includes backing up Hoots & Hellmouth and Hezekiah Jones, as well as recording a handful of full-lengths with her sibling bandmates. With Murchant, though, Sadler takes a turn from the three-part indie pop/folk harmonies of Sisters 3 and instead lends her soaring vocals to more mystical, acoustic arrangements. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Reverend TJ McGlinchey can be found here. Watch Murchant perform in the NYC metro below.