I remember reading somewhere that most people establish their music tastes by the age of 27, when they will have found the bands that will remain their favorites for the rest of their lives. Well, KCRW DJs (and probably many of our listeners, too) are no ordinary people! We’re always on the lookout for new sounds that can join the pantheon of favorites from our younger days, however difficult that can be in a corporate buyout/plastic production/online streaming era.
I was already in my 30s when I first discovered the English band Field Music, and even after hearing their first singles from what would become their self-titled debut album in 2005, I could tell they were going to leap into upper-rungs of my mental musical rankings. I caught them a year later at what might have been their U.S. debut live performance at that year’s SXSW festival, and despite making their way with only the faintest of buzz about them, I championed their music to anyone who would listen. Their 2007 follow-up album, “Tones of Town” was even better — I think it remains my favorite in their catalog — but it wasn’t until 2010’s “Measure” that they were finally getting the wider attention they deserved. They’ve released seven albums to date — including their most recent, “Making a New World,” from earlier this year — received a number of accolades, including a Mercury Prize nomination, and played all-too-infrequent, but much admired gigs in both the States and the U.K.
But, who are Field Music? The core of the group, and the only constant members, are the brothers David and Peter Brewis, who had long participated in the local Sunderland music scene, connecting with other nearby bands such as the Futureheads and Maximo Park. Their own records blend a pastoral vibe reminiscent of the folky side of progressive rock (a la early Genesis and Peter Gabriel) with a crafty slickness to their songwriting that echoes bands from Steely Dan to Talking Heads. The fact that Prince was a fan also hints at their ability to incorporate a little urban funk to keep listeners off their guard. In short, they create some of the most charming, effortless sounding, but cerebral pop-rock around.
For my Throwback Sessions selection, I chose their first visit to the KCRW studios for a Morning Becomes Eclectic appearance from spring of 2010, as it reminds me of the (relatively) early days of discovering a new band that would become a life-long favorite.
Check out more KCRW Throwback Sessions:
Robert Glasper live from Apogee Studio in 2020
Frank Emilio Flynn live on MBE in 2001
King Krule live on MBE in 2013
Femi Kuti live on MBE in 2011
Jimmy Cliff live on MBE in 2012
Orbital live on MBE in 2012
Cymande live on MBE in 2016
The Internet live on MBE in 2015
Hot 8 Brass Band live on MBE in 2017
Laura Mvula live on MBE in 2013
John Legend’s Apogee Session in 2014
Café Tacvba live on MBE in 1996
Lykke Li live on MBE in 2011
Moby live on MBE in 1999
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings live on MBE in 2014
Animal Collective live on MBE in 2016
Marlon Williams live on MBE in 2018
Khruangbin live on MBE in 2018