A Good Read, A Good Listen, and a Good Drink: Field Report


It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

Though his expression in the above photo borders on psychotic, Christopher Porterfield – singer/guitarist/songwriter of Field Report – is an exceedingly nice person. And though his hair can break laws of physics at times, he appears utterly normal, friendly, well-adjusted. So connecting this kind, seemingly unaffected person to his heartbreaking, gut-wrenching songs can be a fascinating but slightly mystifying exercise.

If you’ve been reading NTSIB for a while “Fergus Falls” may strike a familiar chord. It was originally recorded in an earlier incarnation of Field Report known as Conrad Plymouth (the moniker, CP says, outlived its usefulness). Field Report launched themselves officially at SXSW this year (and had Adam Duritz – yes, that one – stumbling all over himself trying to find the right words to describe the power of Field Report’s music) and is going great guns out of the gate, supporting Megafaun on their current tour. So, we’re very pleased that CP could take a little time before hitting the road to contribute to our series.


Fergus Falls by fieldreport


Good Read:
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (Raymond Carver)
I had a ponytailed, Kangoled chainsmoking freshman English professor
who turned me on to Carver via showing Robert Altman’s Shortcuts
during our night class to pass the time. I was into it. He lent me his
copy of Where I’m Calling From; I returned it the next class, having
purchased my own.
I kept it with me whenever I traveled- I always bring a Carver
anthology and whatever else I’m reading. In a very Carver moment, I
ended up puking on my copy of Where I’m Calling From. Now I carry the
earlier collection Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?. I think it might be
more Ray and less Gordon Lish (his controversial editor). All flaws
and holes and love and struggle, and the beauty within the negative

Good Listen:
Klamath (Mark Eitzel)
A heartbreaking work of isolation by former American Music Club
frontman/criminally under-appreciated singer, writer, arranger Mark
Eitzel. It’s all synth and vibes and wood and strings and whispered
croon and brilliant turns of phrase and ache.
Independently released in 2009, I don’t know where you can buy it
anymore. I think he burned 500 copies. If you can’t find Klamath,
“Invisible Man” or “60 Silver Lining” are great places to start.



Good Drink:
Old Thompson, by the pint.
From the liquor store by my house, you can get a pint of this blended
“whisky” for under $4. It fits in a pocket, and is weirdly best served
when warmed by body heat. It sounds terrible, but I’ve converted a few
people over the years. The second sip is smoother than the first. And
a pint is just enough to put a Gaussian blur on the world but not
enough to get you sick.


I Am Not Waiting Anymore by fieldreport


Field Report and Megafaun tour dates

03/27/12 – Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
03/28/12 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
03/30/12 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
03/31/12 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
04/03/12 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
04/04/12 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
04/05/12 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
04/06/12 – Tempe, AZ @ The Sail Inn
04/08/12 – Santa Fe, NM @ Sol Santa Fe
04/10/12 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk
04/12/12 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree
04/14/12 – Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom


Field Report Official Website

Field Report @ Twitter

Comrade Plymouth: Bodies of Bones and Breasts and Unmapped Chambers of Hearts

Being moved to tears by live music is one thing – the confluence of proximity and energy can be powerful – but have you ever been moved to tears by something you heard on the radio? I had that singular experience once, not long after I had hosted Christopher Porterfield and Nick Berg for a night as they passed through Cleveland on their way to shows with Strand of Oaks and Yellow Ostrich in New York City. I tuned in to a little low-end-of-the-dial folk show to hear them play, as Conrad Plymouth, a little in-studio set with Timothy Showalter (a.k.a. Strand of Oaks). I expected it to be fun to hear my friends on the radio, and I expected it to be lovely, but I didn’t expect, as they played “Fergus Falls”, a song I’d listened to so many times, to be made weepy.

This is their gift, to reach right into your chest, gently pull out your heart and show you all the amazing things inside you. Inside humans. On Comrade Plymouth, Christopher Porterfield’s new solo record, he does it again. To paraphrase writer Raymond Chandler’s description of colleague Dashiell Hammett, Porterfield writes lyrics that seem never to have been written before. They don’t beg or shout to be heard, but you will stop to listen.

Have a listen to a couple of my favorite tracks:




Comrade Plymouth is available now via Conrad Plymouth’s Bandcamp on a name-your-own-price basis.

Conrad Plymouth Official Website

Bits: Eddie Kirkland, TV on the Radio, Conrad Plymouth, Chip Tha Ripper, Jessica Lea Mayfield

  • Bluesman Eddie Kirkland was killed in a road accident this passed Sunday. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and fans. I’m glad I had the pleasure to see him live this past autumn when he opened for the Gories.
  • The first track to be revealed off of TV on the Radio’s forthcoming album, Nine Types of Light, can be heard on the 107.7 blog.
  • Our friends Conrad Plymouth, accompanied by Strand of Oaks, did a set for Folkadelphia. It will air tonight between 6 and 8 PM ET.
  • Cleveland’s Chip Tha Ripper has a new mixtape, Gift Raps, at Rap Radar. Digging it as I type…
  • Kent, Ohio’s Jessica Lea Mayfield made her Letterman debut (with brother David Mayfield, formerly of Cadillac Sky, currently of the David Mayfield Parade, accompanying her) last Friday. Check it out below.

Bits: Hell and Half of Georgia, the Low Anthem, Conrad Plymouth, the Twilight Singers, Mark Sandman

  • Shows! Hell and Half of Georgia will be playing a free show in Long Beach, California tomorrow, 12.29.10. On the other side of the country on the same day, the Avett Brothers, the Low Anthem and Bombadil will be playing a benefit show in Carrboro, North Carolina – tickets go on sale at 10:00 AM EST today, 12.28.10. (The Avett/Anthem/Bombadil benefit show sold out within the first hour.) Conrad Plymouth will play a New Year’s Eve show with Ian Olvera and the Sleepwalkers and Laarks at Linneman’s in Milkwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • The Twilight Singers have made another track, “On the Corner”, from the upcoming album Dynamite Steps available for free download.
  • And the news I’m personally most excited about right now is the impending release of Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story. The singer/bass player/avant-instrumentalist for Morphine was and is a huge influence on me, and I’m very much looking forward to this documentary, which will be hitting the festival circuit in 2011. Check out the trailer below, and find more video clips at the Gatling Pictures website.

Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story (Trailer) from Gatling Pictures on Vimeo.

Bits: Atlas Sound, Justin Townes Earle, The Wu-Tang Clan, Conrad Plymouth, The Black Keys

  • Atlas Sound has released two free albums this week. Download Bedroom Databank Vol. 1 here and Bedroom Databank Vol. 2.
  • Justin Townes Earle has updated his tour schedule, including some European dates and a show at the Kent Stage on February 8 with Jessica Lea Mayfield.
  • The Wu-Tang Clan has announced a full tour.
  • Our friends and internet drinking buddies Conrad Plymouth have announced a series of Wisconsin and Minnesota live dates, including the Muzzle of Bees 6th Anniversary show.
  • It’s been 11 days since I’ve mentioned anything Black Keys-related, but our friends at Rubber City Review have afforded me the opportunity to do it again. They have joined the dark side and finally become a part of the Twitter stream, and to promote this new foray, they have a special contest to win a pair of tickets to the sold-out Black Keys New Year’s Eve show in Chicago.

This isn’t really news, but Gorilla Vs. Bear posted their favorite videos of 2010, and it gives me the opportunity to mention one of my favorite albums of 2010 as their #1 video is Gil Scott-Heron’s “Me and the Devil” from his gorgeous album I’m New Here.


Bits: Conrad Plymouth, Americana Music Fest, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Plastic Ono Band, The Afghan Whigs, Ohio Hip Hop Awards, The Black Keys-ish

  • Conrad Plymouth has another beautiful song, a demo called “They Keep Everything So Clean”, up at their Tumblr.
  • The Americana Music Festival starts up tomorrow, and if you can’t make it to Nashville for the festivities in person, npr.org will be simulcasting the awards and honors show Thursday evening, according to the Carolina Chocolate Drops Twitter account (though I have yet to find any information about it on npr.org).
  • Speaking of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, here’s a nifty mini-lesson from Dom Flemons on playing the bones.
  • The Plastic Ono Band has a pair of all-star gigs coming up in NYC on October 1 and 2. Special guests include RZA, Mike Watt, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Perry Farrell, among others.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio’s Midpoint Music Fest on September 23-25 will include a couple of Afghan Whigs-related highlights in the form of photographs by John Curley and a documentary entitled Ladies and Gentlemen: The Afghan Whigs. Details here.
  • The Ohio Hip Hop Awards and Music Conference will be hitting downtown Cleveland September 17-19. Details here.
  • And because I’m trying to get used to being a self-promoting hooer blogger, I invite you all to check out the guest post I wrote for the lovely Brucini over at the Black Keys Fan Lounge. It was an honor to be asked and a pleasure to do it.
  • I wanted to close this out with the new Flaming Lips Black Cab Session, but the embed is inoperable, so follow the link for a little delight.

Bits: Conrad Plymouth, Infantree, Megafaun, Folgers, Wu-Ta

  • Conrad Plymouth’s beautiful EP is available on 10″ clear vinyl. Get it.
  • Another gorgeous song from Infantree, “Slaughterhouse”, is available for free download.
  • Megafaun and Fight the Big Bull will be joined by guest Justin Vernon and Sharon Van Etten for a series of shows, taking place September 17-19, that will cover songs from Alan Lomax’s Sounds of the South collection. The shows will be recorded for a future live album release.
  • If your life has heretofore been incomplete due to a lack of Johnny Cash singing to you about coffee from your phone, be ready to experience nirvana. Folgers has posted a series of free ringtones of their jingle performed by Cash, Aaron Neville and Michael McDonald, among others. I can’t make it all the way through the Michael McDonald one for fear of suffocating from laughter.
  • The Wu-Tang Clan are in the middle of the Rock the Bells tour, during which they are performing 36 Chambers in its entirety. Check out the Clan turning out “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man”.


Bits: Cadillac Sky & Mumford & Sons, Justin Townes Earle, Conrad Plymouth, Wayne Coyne, the Black Keys

  • NTSIB favorites Cadillac Sky will be touring with Mumford & Sons from late October to mid-November. They’re not coming through Ohio, but, hey, I’m not weeping bitterly while wondering what I’ve done to anger the music gods or anything…
  • For the price of your e-mail address, you can get
    ” target=”blank”>a free mp3 of “Harlem River Blues”
    from Justin Townes Earle’s forthcoming album of the same name, which drops on September 14.
  • Christopher Porterfield of Conrad Plymouth is playing some solo dates in support of Jeremy Messersmith. He promises some brand new material.
    8.10.10 – The High Noon Saloon – Madison, Wisconsin
    8.11.10 – Cactus Club – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    8.12.10 – Schuba’s – Chicago, Illinois
  • People have been all… uh… atwitter about Kanye West joining Twitter, but the new Twitter poster you really want to follow is Wayne Coyne (I don’t have to tell you he’s the beneficent leader of the Flaming Lips, right?). He will make you happy.
  • Northeastern Ohio music fans are proud of the Black Keys. Obvious statement is obvious. We are proud of the blow-the-top-of-your-head-off music they make, but there’s another aspect of these guys that makes us proud, too, as illustrated in this clip from one of their recent Toronto shows (if you’re impatient, go to the 2:05 mark). Language may be NSFW.
  • [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTLffvQ9GvA]

    Bits: Happy Black Keys Day!, Alan Moore box set, Dio lost, Curtis remembered, Conrad Plymouth travels

    • I’m tempted to make this an all-Black Keys Bits post, but I won’t. That being said, holy shit, the new album drops today and it is glorious. And they’re giving away a copy of the deluxe, limited-edition CD over at HearYa.
    • Comic book genius Alan Moore is in music news again as he collaborates with photographer Mitch Jenkins and a roster of musicians, including Mike Patton, on a box set that includes a story written by Moore, illustrated by Jenkins with an accompanying score on CD or vinyl.
    • Metal legend Ronnie James Dio lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, and today marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis.
    • Our friends Conrad Plymouth give a brief glimpse of their journey to SXSW.
    • And back around to the Keys. In concert with the official release of Brothers is the premiere of the video for the lead single “Tighten Up”. The guys continue their fine video tradition of hilarity and violence. With no dinosaur puppets in sight.

    The Black Keys “Tighten Up”
    The Black Keys | MySpace Music Videos

    Conrad Plymouth: I could have been a preacher if I suffered fools

    We’ve talked Conrad Plymouth up before, and we’ll continue to do so if they keep it up. If you don’t like music that moves you, that can fill you with yearning, a little melancholy and a strong sense of place – even if it’s a place you’ve never been – then stay away from these guys. If, however, you are a fan of beautiful music, heartfelt vocals and exceptional songwriting, go download Conrad Plymouth’s new EP and throw some bucks at them.

    If you already took a listen to “Fergus Falls” when the band posted it previously, you already know you need this EP. If not, here’s your chance.

    Conrad Plymouth – Fergus Falls