Peter Brewis' (Field Music) albums of the decade
I must admit, it was harder than I thought trying to find ten albums that I really liked in the past decade. There was a period of four or five years in the late 90s when there seemed to be a classic released every couple of months but I don't feel like that now. Maybe I'm getting old or but I don't find myself being excited by much new music....or I didn't and now I don't look that hard for it.
So, that's a round about way of saying the list here is only chosen from the few contemporary records I actually listened to in the noughties. Some I think are really great and some are just very good.
I could have chosen any of their four great albums from Apple O to Friend Opportunity but this is the one which I heard first. They are one of the few bands who really explore the all-devouring possibilities of rock music in a way which still retains the old traditions of catchy hooks, great playing and great sounds.
I didn't think people made music like this anymore. It's essentially Rob Mazurek's (from the Chicago UNderground Quartet/ duo etc) avant-jazz orchestra. It's reminiscent of the larger ensemble work of John Coltrane, Gill Evans, Charles Mingus yet sounds thoroughly modern.
This is for me their best album (so far). Like most great records it reminds me of so many things yet sounds really only like itself. There's some prog in there but it's bound together by great riffs and great melody's. The lyrics and production are also both off-the-dial.
Freeze Puppy (aka Tom) played with School of Language in Bristol about two years ago. After a really unique performance he gave me a copy of his soon to be released album. I was absolutely stunned by it. There were shades of The Beach Boys, Zappa and the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band but it's obvious that he let's everything invade his music to create something original and personal. It's very English sounding too.
When I first heard my little brother's album I was astounded. All of the things he felt Field Music couldn't really be he let loose on this and at times it sounds like he created a new way of making rock music. Heavy and heavily detailed. It sounds like nothing else and I doubt anything it ever will.
Although I think they fell this was their least successful record for me it's their best. They bravely shook off their Post-Punk tag to make something much more expansive. Barry's songs are fantastic and the sound of the record is organic and driven by the band...and it shows what a great band they are.
Ever conceptual, it seems like he decided to make a kind of Zeppelin-esque album but with two drummers. The songs are brilliant and the lyrics cutting but it's the sound of the band playing hard which makes me tingle. The guitar playing is magic throughout.
This has only just come out but I had to include it. Tim Friese Green is probably best known for his work with Talk Talk and this collection is equally unique. Piano, bass and Drums might seem to suggest Jazz Balladry but he plays them all himself with a really exploratory spirit.
Another piano, bass drums trio that defy expectations. They might be best known for arranging cover versions of Nirvana, Radiohead etc. but it was the tracks Anthem for the Earnest from this album which initially pricked my ears. There's a nod to it on the new Field Music album.
Chris Cohen left the classic Deerhoof line-up and then this came out. It's lighter in mood than Deerhoof and much more contemplative. The structures and gear shifts are still evident but his voice and understated playing makes the whole thing a lot more subtle.