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.
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?
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.