Way out West: Field Medic

Posted: by The Editor

FFO: Radiator Hospital, Pinegrove, Dear Nora

Field Medic 2

(PC: Valley Taylor)

When I think of folk punk, quite frankly I don’t think positive things. I think of white people with dreadlocks, out of tune banjos, and Mumford and Sons. While I admit I’m not exactly the most educated on folk punk, I’d say that it’s only to be expected– as it is a genre that just doesn’t appeal to me as a whole. It’s because of this general distaste that I was initially skeptical upon finding San Francisco’s Field Medic – self described simply as “folk”. Fortunately, this simple label cannot, and does not, entirely describe the immensely beautiful work of solo artist Kevin Patrick. Field Medic is an artistic endeavor which seamlessly blurs the lines between lofi-bedroom synth pop and soulful modern folk.

Feild Medic 3

Somehow, to my amazement, his marrying of a drum machine and a banjo results in an elegant sound that is raw without sounding underdeveloped or immature. Surely not a one trick pony though, Patrick is able to strip everything down to an acoustic guitar and his soft and affectionate vocals, producing simple beauty just the same. While all songs are home recorded, some are more apparently so– featuring the comforting crackles, pops, and distorted vocals associated with “bedroom” recordings. It’s the small details like this that set Field Medic apart. Each release showcases Patrick’s intimate relationship with his own material through the apparent attention to intricacies and intentional recording style choices being made on a song-by-song basis. Lyrically, Field Medic manages to tell a heart wrenching story in practically every single song. Simply put, Field Medic has broken my anti-folk spell, but please don’t expect this to be a regular thing for me.  

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