Field Report

Field Report – Marigolden (album review)

by Woody on October 6, 2014


I have a lot of friends that travel a ton for work. The things they get to do sound great – drunken boondoggles, golf at some of the nicest courses, unreal tickets for premier sporting events, etc. And while there are those times, there is also the drag of constantly being on the road away from your family. Being in a band might present different highs and lows on a daily basis, the drag of being away from one’s family remains the same.

The strain that presents is a central theme throughout the album. An album that lead-man Chris Porterfield wrote and recorded soon after giving up drinking. I love the difference that plays out between the 2nd track Home (Leave The Lights On) and the penultimate track, Summons. Home, an upbeat track with flecks of electronica, has Porterfield yearning for his home suffering from the homesickness. There is a sense of hope throughout their tune. And with Summons, a considerably more downbeat track, Poterfield sings “I’ll be coming home to you,” in a fashion that combines exhaustion and defiance; hope being replaced with determination.

Ambrosia is a piano-based ballad that sees Porterfield stare down his drinking and where its leading his life. It is a stark and honest look that is on par with Isbell’s self-reflection on Southeastern. There is a line in the closing track, Enchantment, where Porterfield cashes in his 30-day sobriety chip for a kiss that is fucking brilliant.

I loved Field Report’s s/t debut but Marigolden blows it out of the water. It is the antithesis of a sophomore slump. Everything about is better – writing, production, playing, etc. It is an introspective album that is every bit as good as Isbell’s Southeastern and Strand Of Oaks’ HEAL, in that regard.

Our 2013 HearYa session is here

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Field Report is here



I hadn’t listened to Field Report’s s/t debut in a while until one night I couldn’t sleep. I slipped it on in the darkness and immersed myself back into its beauty. They have announced their sophomore album, Marigolden, to be released on 10/7 via the fine folks at Partisan Records. The first track is called Wings and it’s a gem. I’ve heard the whole album and, trust me when I say, it is fucking brilliant. I feel sorry that you have to wait three months to hear it. But it will be worth it when you get to read some half-baked review by me in October.

The full HearYa session is here.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Field Report are here


Field Report, Live Session #113

by Shirk on May 8, 2013


As the snow began to fall on a March morning, I wondered if this session was even going to happen.  Luckily, Field Report, aware of the impending blizzard in Chicago, left Milwaukee early to beat the weather.  This would be my first session since relocating SHIRK studios to its new location.  The wiring and equipment had barely been tested and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. The band’s early arrival gave us some extra setup time and by the time I was ready to hit record, everything was sounding and behaving like I thought it should.  The guys in Field Report were  relaxed and friendly and made the setup process really easy.  Turns out, Ben Lester (pedal steel) had been in for a HearYa session with A.A. Bondy a few years back.  So it was great to have time to reconnect.

This would be our first session with “StubHub! guests” (as we call them).  A few days prior to the session, the band announced on Facebook that they’d be recording a HearYa Live Session in Chicago.  The first to respond were admitted into the session on behalf of StubHub!.  Four guests were invited but due to the heavy snowfall, three of the guests (Chicagoans mind you) had to cancel. The fourth guest however, made it just in time.  How, you ask?  Because he flew in FROM BOSTON just for this session and their show at Space in Evanston later that night.  I have no idea how his flight even landed at O’Hare – they must have closed the runways just as his flight touched down.  His cab dropped him off as we were about to start and he was smiling from ear to ear.  Kirk, I’m glad you could join us.  Kirk is a Field Report super-fan and a gentlemen and couldn’t have been more excited to witness them playing live in-studio.

The band eased into the session with a beautiful rendition of “Route 18” followed by “Circle Drive” at Kirk’s request.  After that, Field Report gave us a treat, performing an unreleased tune that they had just begun to play titled, “40/40”.  The song has a great dynamic that builds from a repetitive floor tom pattern then closes out with a ferocious jam.  The band finished the session with most of the band members huddled around one mic performing and acoustic rendition of “Taking Alcatraz”.  I think we captured a nice roomy vibe on that one, but next time I’ll remember to turn off all the buzzing/hissing guitar amps before we cut the track.

Following the session, the band and I spent the next hour or so pushing their van and trailer out of the parking spot we had them wedged into behind my studio.  Eventually we just removed the trailer and pulled it out by hand and drove the van down the wrong way of the one-way street.  Much to the chagrin of a shouting soccer mom in her SUV.  I drove home with soggy shoes, cold hands and a big smile on my face, having just completed my first session in my new studio and spending the day with a great group of musicians.  I clearly recall saying to myself, “I love my job.”

Be sure to check them out on their spring/summer tour.  They’ll be at Schubas in Chicago on May 11th.



Exclusive: Field Report – Route 18

Exclusive: Field Report – Circle Drive

Exclusive: Field Report – 40/40

Exclusive: Field Report – Taking Alcatraz

Download the Field Report Live Session as a zip file.



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Field Report put out one of HearYa’s favorite albums of 2012. We caught them at SXSW where they blew our hair back and Oz wrote a glowing review back in August. Now they have released their first music video and its a beauty. We have a HearYa session planned for March and we couldn’t be any more excited. The story behind the video is as follows:

The emotionally arresting video was directed by Manny Marquez and creates a wrenching narrative of a formerly homeless man seeking healing and redemption amidst the urban decay of Field Report’s hometown, Milwaukee.

By listening to Chris Porterfield’s lyrics on repeat during his daily bike rides through Milwaukee, director Marquez says, “I started to see this world that he was creating, a world that was this Field Report album. It reminded me of Raymond Carver’s work or Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, OH. You have this series of seemingly normal situations, and people in different phases of life dealing with these situations. I’m talking about love, lost love, happiness, and longing. And with all the empty factories and old houses in Milwaukee, the town just set the scene.”

Marquez continues, “The most difficult part of shooting the video was the scene in the church food program at the end. That’s St. Ben’s in Milwaukee, and it’s a wonderful place where the Capuchin Brothers feed about 400 people every night. We had to shoot it in a way that the only faces seen were those of the people that wanted to be in the video, and respect all the other people that were just there for a meal.”


Field Report. The best debut album of the year.

August 29, 2012

First off, let me apologize to Alabama Shakes, Nick Waterhouse, John Fulbright, Michael Kiwanuka and Father John Misty (as I pretend you’re reading this). You guys put out some of the best debut albums of the year. No, some of the best albums of the year. The Shakes, we’ve had some good days firing up […]

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Field Report’s Fergus Falls: Best song of the year so far? [new mp3]

April 23, 2012

We mentioned that Field Report was one of our favorite new discoveries at SXSW this year. Christopher Porterfield ended his previous Milwaukee-based band, Conrad Plymouth, and emerged with a new one called Field Report, seemingly overnight. They recorded an album at Justin Vernon’s studio in December of last year and more recently, they’ve been touring […]

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