The Royal Basement Podcast #7: Chris Porterfield (Field Report/DeYarmond Edison)
One of my favorite musical discoveries of this winter has been the moody, verbose layers of Milwaukee's Field Report. How I've never encountered singer Chris Porterfield's work before is beyond me, but the striking LP cover of Marigold drew me in while looking online for a soundtrack to cooking breakfast one day. Porterfield sells his songs in a plain-spoken, reed-y way, and builds simple melodic structures up into walls of articulated noise that glide along gracefully while dealing with darker topics (alcoholism, suicide, lost loves) that confront the grittiness of reality while still retaining an optimistic gleam.
Chris spent time in a band called DeYarmond Edison alongside Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Megafaun's Brad & Phil Cook and Joe Westerlund. It's hard to listen to Field Report's first record without at least hearing the faint shadow of some of those other band's successes in the lyrics, but Porterfield's newest record (Marigolden) leaves those bitter missives in the past and blazes its own trail. It's a beautiful, ambitious record that bursts with honesty, and I can only hope it lands in the right ears to continue Field Report's path.
Thanks so much to Chris Porterfield for taking the time to chat with me beside a dumpster behind the Sunset Tavern when they were in Seattle recently. We talked about the uncertainty and excitement in song writing, navigating uncomfortability in his lyrics, the specifics of his creative process, and some of his gear choices for the making of Marigolden.
As an extra added bonus, here's some video of the Field Report show at the Sunset. The band came down into the crowd and played a few songs, including this beautifully hushed version of "Taking Alcatraz".
Give it a listen if you have a chance, and keep tuned in for more podcasts coming up with Alex Robert of Black Whales, Bradley Fry of Pissed Jeans, and director Bill Perrine of San Diego music documentary "It's Gonna Blow!".