New Midlake Track – Antiphon

I’ve talked about how much I love Midlake’s music before and it’s been quite a few years since their last release, The Courage of Others. Obviously the departure of Tim Smith in the middle of recording the new LP caused quite a few problems. But apparently Midlake has finished recording and they’ve released a sample of what we can expect.

I’m digging it. While I worry that Midlake will lose something now that Smith is no longer a contributor, Midlake is one of those bands that creates a new sound with each release while still threading each album with something uniquely themselves. Bamnan and Silvercork was very English Countryside/Beatles-ish with some songs almost reminiscent of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. The Trials of Van Occupanther (my favorite release) felt rugged and pastoral. The Courage of Others had a very ancient, sylvan and almost primeval sound.

This latest release feels kind of psychedelic with hints of conflict. The echoed vocals and billowy guitar riffs are very acid rock. As I listen to this new tune, my mind’s eye conjures images of American soldiers slogging through the jungles of Vietnam. Or it’s possible I’ve seen Platoon one too many times. Either way, Midlake is and remains one of my favorite groups and I can’t wait for the November release of the new album.

Van Occupanther

As a little bonus, here’s Roscoe, which I felt was the best tune off the Trials of Van Occupanther album. How do you think they compare?

The History of the Eagles

Everybody, through this band, wants to remember a 70’s that they may or may not have had… – J.D. Souther

Eagles Documentary

There are some people out there who have an insane amount of disdain for the Eagles. I’ve commonly seen this kind of dislike and vitriol associated with the New York Yankees. It’s almost as if some people feel they do not deserve the success that they earned. I’m definitely not one of them and this is something I’ve never understood. Interestingly enough I’m a N.Y. Yankee’s fan as well (3rd generation!)

I’ve been an Eagles fan for as long as I can possibly remember. My parents were very musically appreciative when I was growing up and there was always a radio or stereo on in the house. Because of this, I tended to associate a good deal of memories from my childhood with the songs that were playing at the time. Since the Eagles were one of their favorite bands and were played with more frequency than other albums, I have more memories connected with their music than any other band from that era.

The above quote from the documentary by J.D. Souther was both very poignant and very accurate. I may have only been a small child during the 70’s but I remember the 70’s because of the Eagles nonetheless.

History of the Eagles: The Story of an American Band is easily one of the best rock documentaries I’ve ever seen. It captures the essense of the band that I was too young to understand during the 70’s and am now finally able to appreciate as an adult. The first thing I noticed was how much fun the band members seemed to be having as they told their story. They genuinely seemed to enjoy contributing to this endeavor even when they were relegating the tales of the darker moments in the group’s history prior to their 1980 break-up.

The amount of old footage they included was staggering and I was kind of amazed at how many other artists and bands from the 70’s were instrumental in the formation of the Eagles. It was cool seeing the interviews with Bob Seeger, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne and footage from bands like Poco, the Byrds and the Flying Burrito brothers. Especially impressive was all the footage from the famous Troubadour Bar and Music Hall. Other video footage I found really impressive was the old 70mm camera rolls from their album cover photo shoots of both their title album and Desperado. It was also nice to see the outside perspectives from people who were involved in the band like producers Glyn Johns and Bill Szymczyk and manager Irving Azoff.

The music steered the narrative which is a directorial decision I really agree with. It didn’t delve into much of the band members personal lives but instead stayed on course by only discussing how their lives both drove and were affected by the music itself. I loved seeing the story of the formation of the band unfold, but what really stuck out in my mind was how the director focused on the creative genesis of most of their songs; what drove them, what influenced them and what inspired them. Glenn Frye’s account of how he learned to write songs by listening to Jackson Browne through the floor of his apartment was a phenomenal device.

While it was clear that Don Henley and Glenn Frye drove the narrative of the documentary, it was nice to see them give plenty of interview time to ex-members of the band, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don Felder as an acknowledgement of how much they contributed to the success of the group. And while I think they painted a little too big of a target on Don Felder I have to imagine he signed off on what was portrayed before it went public which to me is almost an admission of guilt.

The Blu-Ray pack is broken down into three discs.  The first disc is Part 1 which documents their formation and leads all the way up to their 1980’s split. The second disc is Part 2 which deals with the band members solo careers and their eventual reuniting in 1994. The third disc is bonus footage from their 1977 show at the Capital Theatre in Maryland. I was a little disappointed that it was only 8 songs and not the full concert, but a bonus is a bonus so I’m not really going to complain about it.

Love them or hate them, the Eagles are a pillar of rock and roll and you can’t talk about 70’s rock without them.  To this day I’m still making memories as their music continues to provide a soundtrack to my life. You can’t get any more seminal than that…

Shadowrun Returns!

I was a huge fan of the old Shadowrun game for SNES when I was a kid. Based on the tabletop RPG, Shadowrun was a unique blend of fantasy and sci-fi and its cyberpunk aspects were way ahead of its time. When I heard there was a Shadowrun game coming out for the Xbox 36o I was extremely stoked. Disappointment abounded when the game turned out to be a First Person Shooter instead of an RPG. Granted it was an innovative shooter, but it touched on NONE of the aspects or storylines that made Shadowrun great.

Fast forward to today and I’m stoked once more as a REAL version of Shadowrun is on the horizon and due out for PC and iPad at the end of July. Take a look at the gameplay footage for Shadowrun Returns. It’s got everything I remember (and then some!) and the addition of a full editor is one of the best decisions the design team could have possibly made. If you’re a fan of Shadowrun, whether it was the SNES game or the original tabletop RPG, it’s hard not to be excited for this.

This is exactly the game that I was expecting when the 360 version was announced. And it only took six years…

New track from the upcoming Iron & Wine album!

Sam Beam has been hard at work in the studio on the latest Iron & Wine album Ghost on Ghost. Here’s the first taste of the new goods. This track is called Lovers’ Revolution.

I’m completely torn. On the one hand I love jazz and this song is really… freaking… good. On the other, I do miss Iron & Wine’s traditional acoustic folk sound that has all but disappeared over the last few albums.

I feel somewhat obnoxious saying this after only hearing one track, but someone on the youtube channel made a comment that really resonated; with each passing album Beam puts more distance between himself and the listener and I think that’s staggeringly accurate. The folky, scratchy, low-fi sound of old had a way of making it feel like they were right there beside you. As each successive album was released, that sound became more and more processed and diluted in the studio resulting in the aforementioned distance. Beam’s stylistic changes only added to that.

I realize that I don’t have any room to complain. It’s nostalgia and nothing more. And as this is only one track, I’ll withhold judgement of any kind until April when Ghost on Ghost is released (which of course begs the question “then what the hell was the point of the previous paragraph?” but I digress). As long as Beam’s amazing lyrics continue to weave their way in and out of dreams and reality I don’t see Iron & Wine leaving its post as my favorite band.

And as a little bonus, here’s a cover Iron & Wine did of Long Black Veil made famous by Johnny Cash.


Donavon Frankenreiter Live @ Jannus Landing

(Photo courtesy of Greg Unger)

Caught the Donavon Frankenreiter concert at Jannus Landing last night and had an absolute blast. Donavon puts on a really great show. Check out the video clips of some of my favorite songs below:


Too Much Water

Move By Yourself

Broke into a little Skynyrd with Simple Man

The Way It Is

Both before and after the show Donavon was just hanging out by the merch table talking to people, signing albums and taking photos. He seems like he’s a really cool guy but judging by his music, this is no surprise. We had some camera trouble and he was nice enough to snap multiple photos with our group without complaint until we got a proper one

I’m already looking forward to next year’s show!