Fields of Industry
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Fields of Industry

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You won't hear any cymbal crashes, rumbling drum fills or guitar riffs on Fields of Industry's latest CD, Two Dogs, A Television. Though a number of tracks take cues from rock (the group often sounds like The Velvet Underground), it's an almost heartbreakingly spare album, steeped as much in folk and country as in shoegaze and psychedelia. Even on the more charged songs like "I'm Not Afraid of a Fight" and "Toybox," the only percussion heard is a gently rapped tambourine. But Two Dogs, A Television isn't stark. The sophomore full-length for this Michigan-based band manages to sound spacious and richly produced.

Fields of Industry began as a solo project in 1999 for frontman and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Barton. He self-released cassettes of his bedroom recordings before going to college at the University of Michigan in 2001, where his project turned into a full band, with support from several friends. The group now features Barton, Joel Schrauben on bass and Eric Gallippo on guitar.

Fields of Industry remains a deeply personal vehicle for Barton's reflective songwriting, with themes of youth, growing old, mortality and, ultimately, hope. The featured track, "Point of Contention," was originally part of a series of songs he wrote, looking at his friends and their relationships.

"'Point of Contention' was the most vague of these songs, because it was kind of about everyone I knew," says Barton. "The lyrics to 'Point of Contention' are about unspoken tensions, and the music is intentionally fragile. My wife, Mary Jane Walbridge, sang some on this. It has come to be more meaningful over the last few years because of how many people have expressed their appreciation for it. Also, we made a video for it, and lots of friends helped out. In a way, the song has brought me closer to some of my friends, so I guess the song itself has worked toward accomplishing the hope that inspired it."

Fields of Industry is currently working on an EP for release later in the year, with some limited touring planned for Two Dogs, A Television. - NPR Second Stage


This Friday a trip to Corktown won’t exactly make up for your inability to drop everything and take a road trip to Chicago to see My Bloody Valentine, but it’ll still give you a chance to exercise your shoegaze demons. Lansing’s Fields Of Industry make fuzzed out dream music that would fit perfectly on a mixtape with The Velvet Underground and Galaxy 500. Frontman Joshua Barton, when asked to expound on the notion of “the shoegaze label” said, “The shoegaze movement means a lot to me personally because it was that whole scene that pulled me out of listening exclusively to the Ramones (not that that wasn’t fun). I’ve never considered us a shoegaze band, but I think we’ve taken cues from shoegazers and many others who have tried to make something “beautiful” out of rock and roll.” Check out their tune “I’m Not Afraid Of A Fight” from Two Dogs, A Television which they released earlier this year and watch the charming video for “Point Of Contention.” Then go see them Friday — they’re playing with Detroit’s Indian Guides and Modernlull, along with Slow/Dynamite from Brooklyn. A guaranteed dreamy evening. — Laura Witkowski - Detour


"Reverb, guitars, low-key vocals, more reverb, and sparse drumming... Fantasies of Lou Reed, The Pixies, The Cure, and even David Bowie can be heard reflecting around the reverb chamber, coaxing bittersweet sensations and an inverted nostalgia... [B]ears the stamp of time and care given to making an artistic vision a reality."
Ryan Cunningham - Recoil Magazine


Discography

Fields of Industry (2003)
Dogs EP (2005)
Two Dogs, A Television (2008)
Tracks from Two Dogs, A Television have received airplay on WCBN (Ann Arbor, MI), WFMU (East Lansing, MI), RIFF2 (Detroit, MI), WMTU (Houghton, MI), WQKL (Ann Arbor, MI), WYCE (Grand Rapids, MI)

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Bio

Fields of Industry started out in 1999 as Joshua Barton's home recording project. After entering the University of Michigan in 2001 Joshua began to recruit fellow students to perform together around the state but never formed a steady line-up. In 2003 the band was accepted in a regional music festival.

To fill out the band for live performance, Joshua recruited close friend Eric Gallippo of Grand Rapids-based noise band Man at Arms as well as Toby Walbridge, Jeremy Siegrist and Kevin Lang. This line-up lasted into the next year, then disintegrated as people moved on to other projects and places.

For the next two years, Joshua and Eric performed minimalized versions of the songs as a duo before recruiting Joel Schrauben (of Bear Mountain Picnic), Graham Mason and Tristan Dreisbach. Together, the group recorded the second Fields of Industry full-length, Two Dogs, a Television before Graham and Tristan moved to New York City in the fall of 2006.

At this point the group, consisting of Joshua, Eric and Joel, asked their friend Sarah Schaefer to join the band. Due to the members being spread throughout Southern Michigan, friends are often asked to fill in on various instruments when necessary. Through 2007 the band's sound began to evolve in a more rock-oriented direction, and several friends were brought in to play drums at their live performances. Sarah departed in late 2007, after which Jacob Walbridge was brought in on drums (although Allison Stanley fills in on drums when Jacob is unavailable).

In February 2008, Joshua, Joel and Graham Mason (still in New York) formed the Arts vs. Entertainment label. That May Fields of Industry finally released Two Dogs, a Television through their label on CD and online via Cerberus Records.