Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Field Recordings deserve your attention!

The Field Recordings pump out high energy guitar-driven pop music. This band could fit in nearly anywhere in the past 30 years of indie rock. I had a chance to see them play at Freight Street Gallery on Friday 10/14 and they gave it their all. It was late and the crowd was dwindling, but the remaining audience members were whipped into a frenzy at first song and stayed going strong until the last beat. Aside from the obvious skill of each of the 3 band members, what impressed me most was how much it appeared that each enjoyed playing the music. Many of the songs intricacies clearly appealed to each member in different ways, and it showed in the performance.

So I got my hands on a copy of their newest release, a full length album called "The Elastic Nostalgia", and the translation from live act to recorded set goes very smoothly. The energy shines through the recordings and has some pretty solid replay value. The drums and bass were expertly played and recorded, as solid as any band of this model can ask for. The parts may appear simple but the embellishments of the drummer (Jared Thompson) and bassist (Noel Thomas) end up being imperative nuances. Then there are the guitar and vocal stylings of Daniel Gallo. This guy knows how to create environments with guitar. The effects he uses manage to change the context of the part he is playing without distracting you from seamless enjoyment. I was most impressed at the careful thought that seems to be evident in the types of tones and effects he chooses for each song. They compliment the compositions gorgeously. The vocals, while quirky, come across as their own sound. I don't like to compare but the vocals contain many different characteristics, from the spazziness of DEVO to the soulful crooning of Dirty Projectors. It's all over the place and dead on note somehow all at the same time.

Now for the album: The collection of songs stands as a unit or as individuals, I really couldn't find an "out of place" moment on the whole thing. Nearly all of the songs have standout potential as singles. Track 2 "(Caught Up In All The) Interludes" is an obvious choice for a lead single, and is placed as such. The time changeups on "Framing Happiness" are wonderful and almost completely seamless despite how dramatically the timing changes. It was at this point where I realized these gentlemen make a much smarter pop music than is generally made. Album closing track "STATESCAPES" is a fitting conclusion. Celebrating the energy prevalent on the entirety of the album as well as providing a musical farewell greeting.

I had a chance to do a phone interview with Daniel Gallo, and here's how it went:

The Field Recordings both live and on record sounds like accomplished musicians all playing in a like-minded model, what were some of the earlier bands you and the other members played in?

Jared and I were in a bunch of really awful punk bands in high school, we've been playing together since we were like 14 and Noel has done just about... everything...

The Elastic Nostalgia is an example of a set of songs that are creatively related, were there any outtakes or songs that did not make the cut?

Yeah, there was one.

Do you have any plans on releasing it?

No. It was a really old one. I think we were already pretty tired of playing it. It could have been a good song, but we lost our objectivity on it. It was one of our really early songs so to me it was pretty evident that I was just patching stuff together and we were just fumbling our way through. We never liked playing it and it got really old and I think we subconsciously tanked the recording of it so we couldn’t put it on the album.

Is there a narrative or story pertaining to The Elastic Nostalgia?

I've really only been thinking about that since its been out, retrofitting a meaning to it. But I'm trying to think of my favorite albums and bands and stuff that I listen to, and what I hold a good album to be, did we actually make that? That seems like a huge mountain for us to have left, as far as like how could we have possibly made it, the album, so to speak. But there are a lot of things that link all the songs together in title or obviously there’s a certain "gallows humor" that runs through all the songs. I think they all do make a piece, make a whole.

What is The Elastic Nostalgia?

I’m hoping it’s one of those nebulous phrases where people can try to understand without technically knowing what it means, like a Bob Dylan lyric or something. It’s a suffocating feeling, to me anyway. It's mostly about getting to this age and looking around at the stuff we've been raised on and you get to a point where you have to reassess everything and there’s no clear path forward and it's a process of looking around and taking the stuff that just does not work and trying to get away from it. It touches on nostalgia being a marketing trick, another point of exploitation. As far as I can feel it, it’s a huge enveloping white noise.

The Field Recordings seem to be a very poppy band, but with complicated time changes and flamboyant energies. How do you maintain your pop sensibilities without getting too far "out there"?

At first when we started we would put down these things we just didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to use bar chords, and I didn’t want to write songs about chicks and whatever. Those were the majorly important things and to try and figure out how to get from one section to another without Noel or I [re-treading something too many times] so some of our old songs were like really pretty tedious 5+ minute long songs just trying to figure out how to even go about it. But I’m hoping that were pretty good self editors, I think I have a pretty decent idea of what will test peoples patience.

What are your plans for the near and far futures?

We're trying to move this forward in a legitimate kind of way. We have to get someone interested. I mean we're a little on the older side for just knocking around town. We're sending stuff out; we're trying to figure out what comes next. Further future, I’d love to get more people in the band, if that’s even possible. At least a keyboardist! I’d really love to make a record that’s longer and dance music.


Now there was much more to this interview than was transcribed, as it was done over the phone. To hear the interview in its nearly unedited entirety, check it out HERE
ALSO you had better go see them TONIGHT 11/9 at the ROCCUPATION NEW HAVEN event at CAFÉ NINE at 9PM:
250 State Street
New Haven, CT
Check out the Facebook Event HERE

1 comment:

Smuckie said...

I've seen these guys live and have heard the CD and, you're right, the energy is surprisingly similar. Good drive and all that rot...