Up in Your Grill: Summer Fridays 3.3

Usually when I make these mixes, I'm either making the artwork the night before they're supposed to go up or waiting on whichever friend I've conned into doing the artwork for me. Either way, the actual mix is done. Not so this time. My friend Greg sent this to me last week and I built the mix around it. Pretty killer art, I think, clever, and not only screams Summer Fridays but also Sound Bites' food-and-music modus operandi. Definitely one of my favorite covers ever and a call for future mix cover designers to step up their game. This one's definitely on the dancey side, perfect for your next BBQ disco.



  1. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – So In Love
  2. LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
  3. WhoMadeWho – Keep Me in My Plane
  4. Big Audio Dynamite – Hollywood Blvd
  5. Can – I'm So Green
  6. Field Music – Let's Write a Book
  7. The Hundred in the Hands – Sleepwalking
  8. Soft Moon – Breathe the Fire
  9. Grace Jones – She's Lost Control
  10. Heaven 17 – (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
  11. Grovesnor – Taxi from the Airport
  12. No Kids – I Want to Be Around
  13. CFCF – Half Dreaming
  14. Edwyn Collins – 20 Years Too Late
  15. Orchester Werner Mueller – Bodybuilding

And here's where I remind you about no shuffling. The songs are mixed together, despite being separate tracks, blah blah blah. Liner notes after the jump.

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Field Music Presents: The Week That Was | Mercury Lounge | 3.09.2009


As should be done when touring any concept album, The Week That Was is played in its entirety, in order, with barely a quip in between songs. Though when it's done, Brewis says, sheepishly, "Well, that was 'The Week That Was.'" While the record, a 32 minute ode to Paul Auster, the media and '80s production, is lush with strings and other accoutrements, here it's a stripped-down four piece: TWTW mastermind Peter Brewis, his brother and Field Music colaborator David on drums, plus a guitarist/keyboardist and bassist who switches to marimba for the dreamy "It's All Gone Quiet."

Still, without the strings, the lovely "The Airport Line" shows it's prog roots and suddenly less Kate Bush and more Rush.* (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) There's also a little Steely Dan floating around in the ether ("Charly Freak"), which keeps popping into my mind as these guys are seriously good musicians. And when you've got those chops the tendency to go nerdy is always there. But The Week That Was is rooted in great songs, so the odd time signature and occasional noodling is welcome.

MP3The Week That Was – It's All Gone Quiet (buy it)

Stretching things out to proper set length is Field Music's first album chesnut "It's Not the Only Way to Feel Happy" and a cover of John Cale's "Fear is a Man's Best Friend."

SETLIST: Learn to Learn | The Good Life | The Story Waits for No One | It's All Gone Quiet | The Airport Line | Yesterday's Paper | Come Home | Scratch the Surface | ENCORE: It's Not the Only Way to Feel Happy | Fear is a Man's Best Friend

The Week That Was have a few dates left on this tour. Catch them if they stop near you:

Mar 11 Canadian Music Week at The Green Room Montreal, Quebec
Mar 12 Canadian Music Week at The Gladstone Hotel Toronto, Ontario
Mar 14 Canadian Music Week at The Mod Club Toronto, Ontario
Mar 15 The Grog Shop Cleveland, Ohio
Mar 18 Friends Bar @ SXSW Austin, Texas

*for about 20 minutes I was going with "less 90125 and more ELP" but I realized I really don't know enough about Yes to pull it off. But the idea was that the more overt Trevor Horn-isms got stripped away. Not that I know that much about Rush either, but I was forced to listen to 2112 enough by friends that I know it when I hear it.

Future Tense: The Week That Was Hit the U.S. in March

Oh happy day. One of my favorite records of 2008 was The Week That Was' debut album, a lush production that recalls the days of Kate Bush, ZZT and The Blue Nile but minus some of the '80s ickier sonics. So I'm very curious how the Brewis brothers are going to pull the album off in a live setting when The Week That Was tours here briefly in March. But if anyone can do it, they can. Field Music were always great live, and all of them are also in TWTW. I guess the real question is how many other musicians will be along for the ride. I can't wait to find out. Here' where:

Mar 7 The Empty Bottle     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 9 Mercury Lounge     New York, New York (tickets)
Mar 15 The Grog Shop     Cleveland, Ohio
Mar 18 SXSW     Austin, Texas

The weekend of Mondo Kim's closing, I picked up the 7" of The Week That Was' brilliant "The Airport Line," mainly because it was $2 but then the b-side, the Razmataz Lorry Excitement remix of "Learn to Learn" turns out to be amazing, transforming the song from Peter Gabriel into Heaven 17:

MP3: The Week That Was – Learn to Learn (Razmataz Lorry Excitement remix)

And the original just for comparison purposes:

MP3: The Week That Was – Learn to Learn (album version)

Buy the album from Insound. It's brilliant.

New Mojo: Murmurs in White

Mojo_AugustI was talking to someone about MOJO and how I was impressed they hadn't put the Beatles on the cover yet this year. Then I got the new issue and learned that the next two issues are going to be devoted to The White Album, which sort of makes sense as it's a double album. For once, I'm not sure I learned a whole lot new in reading the 20-or-so pages spent on it, including a track-by-track breakdown of the first disc but I was excited to hear the White Album Recovered CD which features covers by Vashti Bunyan, Joan as Policewoman and A Girl Called Eddy giving interpretations of songs from the A platter.

Too bad most of them are on the unimaginative side. (To be fair, they're stuck with some of the more annoying songs in the Beatles catalog.) But leave it to Field Music to make things interesting. They take Ringo's "Don't Pass Me By" and mix it with "Don't Let Me Down," take liberties with the melody and turn it into full-on prog:

MP3: Field Music – The Week That Was

And actually, Vashti's take on "Martha My Dear" is rather lovely:

MP3: Vashti Bunyan – Martha My Dear

Speaking of Field Music, Peter Brewis' new thing, The Week That Was (which features everyone from Field music plus like six more members), gets Album of the Month status in the issue. Four Stars. (And I agree. It's great.) There's also two good R.E.M. articles, though — a state-of-the-band type thing and a nice look back at the recording of Murmur.

Next month, more White Album and a second disc of covers. I wonder what they're gonna do with "Revolution #9"?

The Music of Chance; or Single of the Week That Was

Field Music plus six
When Field Music announced a year ago that they were going on indefinite hiatus, I was sad, but it’s turned out to be a blessing in disguise for fans as all it’s really meant is that the Brewis Brothers can now double their yearly output. Earlier this year we got School of Language, David Brewis’ somewhat mathy, hooked-on-phonics look at the way we communicate. Now comes brother Peter Brewis’ new thing, The Week That Was, a similarly high-concept venture that you don’t have to fully understand to enjoy. Here’s how the band’s label describes it:

The Week That Was, written and recorded in late 2007 at Field Music’s 8 Studio in Sunderland, emerged from an imagined crime thriller dreamt up by Field Music’s Peter Brewis and inspired by Paul Auster‘s labyrinthine storytelling. Peter started writing the songs as if they were moments, instances of perspectives within this story. The story was left to fall away, leaving a puzzle of musical snapshots. The songs are the evidence in this particular mystery and the victims, perpetrators and onlookers raise questions with concerns familiar to us all. How do we deal with the fragments of information we receive through the television, radio, the internet? How do we balance the distrust we feel for mass media with our dependence on it? How does this relationship influence our hopes and actions in our real lives? And finally, what would happen if we decided not to deal with it anymore and switched off the information flow by throwing away our TVs, radios and newspapers? The anger, confusion and sorrow details the week of Peter’s own enforced switch off. This may be about as conceptual as Peter will ever get.

The Week That Was are a much bigger band than Field Music, numbering (on record at least) somewhere around eight, including his brother and his old band’s keyboardist, Andrew Moore, plus a string section and the stray flute. And like School of Language, Peter Brewis’ songwriting style remains highly recognizable, not that far from Field Music at all, and some have said it’s indistinguishable from them. I would disagree — TWTW is a much warmer sounding record than anything his old band made. Peter claims musical inspiration came from the early ’80s when people were obsessed with Fairlight synthesizers and the Linn drum. But as I was listening to the album’s first single, “Scratch the Surface,” the more I listened the more it reminded me of Steely Dan than anything else. (“Night by Night,” specifically.)

MP3: The Week That Was – Scratch the Surface

The Week That Was’ debut is out August 18 in the UK and hits American shores on September 23. The video for “Scratch the Surface” after the jump:

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Field Music | Mercury Lounge | 1.28.2006

"Draw yourself a nice, hot bath… it's Field Music!" — David Brewis

Fieldmusic2These were not the best circumstances for Field Music's Stateside debut. They flew in just for the gig and couldn't bring their own equipment (openers The Diggs kindly let them use their gear), and had almost no time to rehearse with the violinist and cellist who joined them onstage for their set. Yet, they pulled it off about as well as you could, though four seconds into the first song, Peter Brewis broke a string which led to some impromptu and nervous stage banter from his brother David who was playing drums (they traded positions a few times during the show). Keyboardist Andrew Moore was "the quiet one." Once that was behind them, it was a pretty magical set.

Seeing them live, I really think the apt comparison is Cardinal, though they are more poppy and not quite as baroque-sounding. The harmonies and playing were spot-on, and the string sections kept up as if they'd been playing with them for years, really filling out songs like "Pieces" and "Shorter Shorter." Highlights for me were "Tell Me Keep Me" the harmony-filled "You Can Decide," "Shorter Shorter" and a new song they played when instrument failure kept them from performing a planned number. Great show.

ThebigsleepI had never heard openers The Big Sleep before but was intrigued as they hauled out a bank of old keyboards onto the stage. The three members of the band look like Other Music employees (the ones that aren't already in Animal Collective), and it was pretty apparent we were in for some power-trio prog. That's exactly what we got, but none of us were prepared for how good they'd be. Lit starkly with industrial white lights from below and behind the drummer (shades of the Secret Machines) The Big Sleep kicked out the jams and what they lacked in melody, they made up with power and precision — very loud, very tight. At one point some dude jumped up on stage and started freak dancing. I thought he was just some fan but then he went offstage and grabbed a tambourine, it became obvious he was their Bez or Joel Gion. They pretty much won the whole crowd over by set's end. I'm not sure I'd listen to their records, but I'd go see them play again in a heartbeat.

The evening started with The Diggs. If I were a record label A&R person, I would sign this band in a second. The guy on CBS' retarded show Love Monkey would sign them — and they would be the coolest band on that fictional label. And here's why. They are competent musicians, fairly attractive and have attracted a large backwards-baseball-cap following who whooped and hollered after every song. If Dawson's Creek was still on, tonight's episode would have featured music by The Diggs (and Paula Cole). I'm sure they will make somebody a lot of money. But I am not a record label A&R person and will never actively watch a set of theirs again. But they were nice enough to let Field Music use their equipment.

Photos by kind permission of Dorrit