Field Music

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Field Music
Field Music at The Water Rats, Kings Cross, London, UK. November, 2007.
Background information
Origin Sunderland, England, United Kingdom
Genres Indie rock, art rock, progressive pop
Years active2004–present
LabelsMemphis Industries
Associated acts School of Language
The Week That Was
The Futureheads
Maxïmo Park
You Tell Me
Members David Brewis
Peter Brewis
Andrew Lowther (touring band)
Kev Dosdale (touring band)
Liz Corney (touring band)
Past membersAndrew Moore
Tom English (touring band)
Ian Black (touring band)

Field Music are an English rock band from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England, that formed in 2004. [1] The band's core consists of brothers David Brewis and Peter Brewis, with Andrew Moore occasionally featured as keyboardist. Their line-up has at times featured members of both Maxïmo Park and The Futureheads.


Field Music have been called one of the few bands to outlast the indie guitar band explosion of the mid-2000s. Describing the band as "a truly artful proposition in the pseudo-filled landscape of contemporary Brit art-rock", music blog The Fantastic Hope puts this down in part to their "un-self-conscious anti-fashion stance", arguing that Field Music's "wayward pop from the fringes of academia is one of the most worthwhile ways in which rock//indie/guitar music/white pop/whatever might evolve". [2] Critics have compared their music to acts as diverse as Steely Dan, XTC, Prefab Sprout, Peter Gabriel, Scritti Politti, Talking Heads and Todd Rundgren. [3] They have also been nominated for the Mercury Prize. [4]


Prior to Field Music, David Brewis was in the projects The New Tellers and Electronic Eye Machine. Several songs from these bands ended up as early Field Music recordings. His brother Peter Brewis at one time played drums for fellow Sunderland band The Futureheads.


First phase (2004–2007): Field Music, Write Your Own History, Tones of Town

Field Music released their self-titled debut album in August 2005. A collection of B-sides and earlier songs (including tracks written for The New Tellers and Electronic Eye Machine), Write Your Own History, was released in May 2006. Their second album, Tones of Town , was released on 22 January 2007.

In an interview with BBC 6 Music in April 2007 the band claimed they were intending to split once the promotional engagements for Tones of Town were completed in June 2007. [5]

"We basically want to do things that aren't classed as 'Field Music indie band'. We're not going to be a band for a bit. But Field Music aren't going to be over because we've already got a bank account under the name, so we'll just continue as a company. It's time to go and do some real work."

Hiatus of Field Music brand (2007–2009): The Week That Was, introduction of School of Language

Field Music later confirmed that the band had not split, addressing the hiatus on their official website. Under the name School of Language, David Brewis released the solo album Sea from Shore in February 2008 through Memphis Industries (in the UK and Ireland) and Thrill Jockey Records (in the US and Europe), while Peter Brewis recorded an album under the name The Week That Was. The self-titled album The Week That Was was released on 18 August 2008, also with Memphis Industries, and featured both David Brewis and Andrew Moore on some tracks.

Second phase (2009–2013): Field Music (Measure), Plumb

In an interview with Stereogum in July 2009, [6] the band confirmed that they had reunited (minus Andrew Moore) and were busy recording a third Field Music record. The 20-song double album, titled Field Music (Measure) was released through Memphis Industries in February, 2010 (15 February in the UK, 16 February in the US).

The band was chosen by Belle & Sebastian to perform at their second Bowlie Weekender festival presented by All Tomorrow's Parties in the UK in December 2010.

Their fourth album, Plumb , was released on 13 February 2012. It was preceded by the song "(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing", available as a free download from their website. The album was nominated for the Mercury Prize that year. In an interview with, guitarist and producer Al Kooper said that Field Music is his favourite new band. [7]

Third phase (2013–present): Music for Drifters, Old Fears, Commontime, Open Here, Making a New World

Field Music in Kendal 2020 Field Music.jpg
Field Music in Kendal 2020

In September 2013, it was revealed that Field Music had composed a soundtrack for the 1929 silent documentary Drifters . [8] The film, which originally premiered alongside Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin, was made by pioneering Scottish director John Grierson and follows the working day of a herring fishing fleet as it sets sail from the Shetland Islands. Field Music premiered the work with a live performance and screening for Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival. This commission saw the original line-up of Peter Brewis, David Brewis and Andrew Moore reunite for the first time since 2007. A subsequent screening and performance took place at London's Islington Assembly Hall in November 2013. [9]

David Brewis played as a member of the touring band for former Fiery Furnaces singer Eleanor Friedberger on her UK tour in the summer of 2013. [10] He released a second School of Language album – Old Fears – in April 2014. Both David Brewis and Peter Brewis joined their former bass player Ian Black in the band SLUG, touring as support to Hyde & Beast in the autumn of 2014. Peter Brewis also released an album, Frozen by Sight, in collaboration with Maxïmo Park's Paul Smith on 17 November 2014. [11] This consisted of 'baroque-pop' compositions by Brewis with edited excerpts of Paul Smith's travel writing sung in Recitative. A live performance of the album was staged, with other musicians including a string section, at Gateshead's Sage.

In November 2015, Prince posted a link to Field Music's then-newly released single "The Noisy Days Are Over" on his Twitter feed. [12] In February 2016 the band released their sixth album as Field Music, Commontime . [13] They performed two songs from the album—including "Disappointed", which featured in the "live" edition of the programme—in the second episode of the 48th series of the BBC music show Later... with Jools Holland . The performance was cited in a BBC poll as one of the highlights of the series. [14]

Early in 2016, the band completed their first UK tour in four years. [15] It was followed up by a US tour, which included dates in Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Seattle. They also played in California for the first time since the tour to promote 2007's Tones of Town.

In 2016, Field Music worked with Newcastle duo Warm Digits on the soundtrack for the film Asunder, directed by Esther Johnson, commissioned as part of the 14-18 NOW series of events to commemorate the centenary of World War 1. Writing for The Guardian , the film's creative producer, Bob Stanley revealed that the compositions, which were scored for the Northern Sinfonia by Peter Brewis, had been inspired by Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Messiaen. [16]

A seventh album, Open Here , was released in February 2018. The Guardian described it as a "grand masterclass in terrific tune-making". [17]

An eighth album, Making a New World , was released on 10 January 2020. [18] Keiron Tyler of The Art Desk called the album "a snappy pop funk with an Eighties[ sic ] feel." [19]



TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
[20] [21]
Field Music
Tones of Town
  • Released: 22 January 2007
  • Label: Memphis Industries
Field Music (Measure)
  • Released: 15 February 2010
  • Label: Memphis Industries
  • Released: 13 February 2012
  • Label: Memphis Industries
  • Released: 5 February 2016
  • Label: Memphis Industries
Open Here
  • Released: 2 February 2018 [22]
  • Label: Memphis Industries
Making a New World
  • Released: 10 January 2020
  • Label: Memphis Industries
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released



Live albums

Field Music productions

Albums by David Brewis as School of Language

  • Sea from Shore (4 February 2008)
  • Old Fears (7 April 2014)
  • 45 (30 May 2019)
  • I Could Have Loved U Better (digital EP, 21 April 2020) [24]

Albums by Peter Brewis

  • The Week That Was (as The Week That Was) (18 August 2008)
  • Frozen by Sight (with Paul Smith) (18 November 2014)
  • You Tell Me (with Sarah Hayes as You Tell Me) (19 January 2019)


  • Elements of the Sun (10" vinyl EP, collaboration with Warm Digits for BBC Radio 3's Late Junction Sessions) (24 September 2012)
  • Five Pieces for Roker, and Percussion ('found sound' works by Peter Brewis for the NGCA) (2013)


2005"Shorter Shorter"Field Music
"You Can Decide"
"If Only the Moon Were Up"
2006"You're Not Supposed To"Write Your Own History
"In Context"Tones of Town
2007"A House Is Not a Home"
"She Can Do What She Wants"
2010"Them That Do Nothing"Field Music (Measure)
"Let's Write a Book"
2011"(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing"Plumb
2012"A New Town"
"Who'll Pay the Bills?"
2016"The Noisy Days Are Over"Commontime
2017"Count It Up"Open Here
2018"Time in Joy"
"Share a Pillow"
2019"Only in a Man's World"Making a New World
"Money Is a Memory"
"Home for Christmas" [25] Non-Album Single
"Beyond That of Courtesy"Making a New World
2020"Do You Read Me?"

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<i>Plumb</i> (Field Music album) 2012 studio album by Field Music

Plumb is the fourth studio album by the English rock band Field Music. It was released by Memphis Industries on 13 February 2012. With 15 tracks over 35 minutes, the album consisted of short tracks that weave and intertwine together like an extended suite. This marked a deliberate departure from Field Music's previous double album Measure (2010), marking a return to the more fragmentary nature of the band's first two albums, Field Music (2005) and Tones of Town (2007). Plumb was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Prize, much to the band's surprise.

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<i>Music for Drifters</i> 2015 soundtrack album by Field Music

Music for Drifters is the official release of the soundtrack to the 1929 documentary Drifters, credited for kickstarting the "documentary" film genre. The soundtrack, commissioned in 2013 by the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, was composed by the Sunderland band Field Music. The composition is the first of their works to feature pianist Andrew Moore since 2007's Tones of Town. After touring the film accompanied by the band playing the soundtrack live around the UK, the composition was recorded and released firstly on vinyl for Record Store Day 2015, and then digitally in July 2015.

<i>Commontime</i> (album) 2016 studio album by Field Music

Commontime is the fifth studio album by the English rock band Field Music. It was released by Memphis Industries on 5 February 2016. The album has been described as the band's most accessible to date, and encompasses a wide range of genres and influences, including the funk style that Field Music's David Brewis previously explored on Old Fears, an album by his side project School of Language. Commontime has a stronger pop music sound than Field Music's previous albums, in part inspired by David and Peter Brewis’ children listening to a lot of Hall & Oates and American number-one singles.

David Brewis is an English singer, songwriter and musician. With his brother Peter Brewis, he formed Field Music, a rock band based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear in 2004.

<i>Open Here</i> 2018 album by English rock band Field Music

Open Here is the sixth studio album by the English rock band Field Music. Released by Memphis Industries on 2 February 2018, the album combines elements of alternative rock and chamber pop, and includes a wider range of musical instruments than previous Field Music albums, predominantly featuring flutes, horns, and string instruments. The band attempted to create a unique instrumental combination for each song; Field Music's David and Peter Brewis felt more confident about expanding the range of instruments on the album, after having made a film soundtrack with an orchestra just before the recording of Open Here began.

<i>Making a New World</i> 2020 studio album by Field Music

Making a New World is the seventh studio album by English rock band Field Music. It was released through Memphis Industries on 10 January 2020. The songs were originally composed by David and Peter Brewis for a project commissioned by the Imperial War Museum. The album is about the after-effects of World War I and how they impacted the 100 years after the war's end. It is considered the band's first concept album.


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