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MIDLAKE

Prog Folk • United States


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Midlake biography
Something of a throwback band from Denton, Texas, MIDLAKE originally formed as a group of like-minded college jazz/funk students under the name THE CORNBREAD ALL-STARS. They eventually evolved to playing original tunes heavily influenced by seventies progressive and art-rock bands.

The band first gained popularity in Europe, touring extensively and playing numerous music festivals before signing to Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie's (COCTEAU TWINS) label Bella Union. The band has since released an EP, three studio albums and a collection of sixties/seventies rock, psych and folk covers.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) <<

Midlake official website

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Buy MIDLAKE Music


AntiphonAntiphon
ATO Records 2013
Audio CD$6.01
$3.75 (used)
Trials of Van OccupantherTrials of Van Occupanther
Bella Union 2006
Audio CD$9.37
$3.45 (used)
Am I Going InsaneAm I Going Insane
Special Edition
Late Night Tales UK 2011
Vinyl$2.95
$20.10 (used)
Courage of OthersCourage of Others
Bella Union 2010
Audio CD$4.00
$1.86 (used)
Bamnan & SlivercorkBamnan & Slivercork
Bella Union Records/Redeye 2006
Audio CD$8.93
$6.51 (used)
Late Night TalesLate Night Tales
Night Time Stories 2011
Audio CD$8.61
$8.93 (used)
Milkmaid Grand Army EpMilkmaid Grand Army Ep
EP
Basement Front 2006
Audio CD$40.47
$14.99 (used)
Acts of Man [Vinyl]Acts of Man [Vinyl]
Bella Union 2009
Vinyl$8.94
$10.98 (used)
Young BrideYoung Bride
Single · Import
Bella Union 2006
Audio CD$90.98
$8.24 (used)
Antiphon LP (Vinyl Album) European Bella Union 2013Antiphon LP (Vinyl Album) European Bella Union 2013
Bella Union
Vinyl$35.78
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MIDLAKE shows & tickets


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MIDLAKE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MIDLAKE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.40 | 5 ratings
Bamnan and Slivercork
2001
3.79 | 16 ratings
The Trials of Van Occupanther
2006
4.44 | 34 ratings
The Courage of Others
2010
3.68 | 12 ratings
Antiphon
2013

MIDLAKE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MIDLAKE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MIDLAKE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Late Night Tales
2011

MIDLAKE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Milkmaid Grand Army
2006

MIDLAKE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Courage of Others by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.44 | 34 ratings

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The Courage of Others
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Midlake play indie folk rock that draws extensively on the magical, mystical stylings of electric British folk rock of the style of the likes of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span or Pentangle, with perhaps a strong dash of Strawbs to spice things up. These aren't the typical indie folk influences, so it follows that this ain't your typical indie folk album - instead, as the rather druid- themed cover implies, you're looking at a mystic folk rock journey reminiscent of the dreamy medievalism that crept into the electric folk scene in Britain much more than it did with the likes of, say, Neil Young or Crosby, Stills and Nash. Enchanting.

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 Antiphon by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.68 | 12 ratings

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Antiphon
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Though only having briefly heard their second "folkish" album Occupanther and their psychier Courage, I never really thought of Midlake as a prog folk or folk-prog group, but then again, my only experience with the band (so far) is their latest/fourth: the impressive Antiphon. The sober artwork is intriguing enough with mainly black but also red-orange-yellow and pale green colours throughout the gatefold and lyric sheet.

Their music is a form of alternate rock with some prog touches, not least of which is a generally luxuriant array of instruments - vintage or sampled remains to be seen, since we don't have the right of information in the leaflet - though a quick glance on PA gave me the answer I was looking for. In many ways, we're somewhere between Muse, Decemberist, the 90's Radiohead, Paatos and a few more of the ilk. This change in direction is probably the result of their former leader, but the band doesn't seem to suffer from his departure, thus hinting they might've had bigger roles than initially thought. The first few tracks are very accessible and dare I say slightly poppy, though relatively fast and "rock". About halfway through, the general mood is calmer and more introspective, maybe a tad proggier, because it seems that more space is left to the instrumental passages, especially in the haunting Ages. Another highlight is Corruption with his delicate textures, not unlike Landberk or Paatos.

So, if there were folk influences in their previous albums, in the present, they'd have o be buried pretty deep should there be any. Never mind the pigeonholes; we're left with a fairly interesting album of modern prog that probably exceeds what one might have expected from a band having lost their artistic leader.

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 Antiphon by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.68 | 12 ratings

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Antiphon
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Considering the weight of songwriting burden on former lead vocalist Tim Smith, one could be forgiven for assuming that his departure would essentially dissect MIDLAKE, but instead the band pulls a 1975 GENESIS, promoting from within and opting for the cooperative approach on "Antiphon". Musically speaking, after the initial disappointment of Eric Pulido's decidedly frailer vocals and the general absence of (perhaps overly?) emotive melodies, this isn't far off the more psychedelic and dreamier pieces on 2010's "The Courage of Others", although it seems like more of a sequel to "Trials of Van Occupanther" from 2006. It all goes to show that the rest of MIDLAKE were more than just session musicians for Tim Smith, that clearly some collective consciousness was in play, and they are obviously on board with the prog/psych/folk sound and/or can't escape it so easily.

The first half of the album tends to be the more accessible, and also a bit punchier, especially in the percussions. "Antiphon" is a short hypnotic mid tempo song that seems pleasant yet wholly unremarkable until evaluated in the overall context, part of which is its iridescent successor "Provider", a gorgeous uptempo ballad with evocative lyrics that might be construed as an appeal for inspiration and strength in the face of crises, and it sets an optimistic but not cloying tone. This is when MIDLAKE's tendencies to blanket the listener in a mood are apparent again, and additional splendors like the infectious hit potential of "The Old and the Young", the psych wonder "It's Going Down", the TIR NA NOG like "Aurora Gone", and the percussive and synth driven "This Weight" in and of themselves make this a worthwhile listen for prog folk fans. If the other tunes don't measure up, they still help to propel the generally subdued angst of "Antiphon" to its denouement, a lyrical if not musical reprise of "Provider".

I could say that MIDLAKE has done it again, but that wouldn't be quite fair to Smith's legacy or the new incarnation. While "Antiphon" isn't quite at the level of the prior two releases, it is far better than one would have any right to expect. Come to think of it, isn't that what happened back in 1975?

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 The Trials of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.79 | 16 ratings

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The Trials of Van Occupanther
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

5 stars If the career of a successful band is comprised of a number of breakthroughs in audience acclaim and artistic achievement, then "Trials of Van Occupanther" marks the first breakthrough for this earnest Denton, TX band.

In addition to its transfixing if somewhat opaque story line and uniformity, as opposed to redundancy, of style, "Van Occupanther" represents probably the most convincing album of 1970s influenced art rock recorded by artists too young to remember that decade first hand. The almost non stop emotive melodies pay homage to FLEETWOOD MAC, AMERICA, LOGGINS AND MESSINA, THE EAGLES, and some Brits like DIRE STRAITS, AMAZING BLONDEL (post John Gladwin period) and MAGNA CARTA. No one influence dominates, although the laid back California sound of that period often returns to impart the sensuous shivery awe of a sunny, tranquil west coast day. At the same time, the group has distilled the most enduring aspects of the music of that period, and produced one of the freshest albums of its own decade. I actively dislike most of the EAGLES output, recognize AMERICA's limitations, find MAGNA CARTA a bit boring, enjoy a few LOGGINS and MESSINA songs in small doses, ok I do love FLEETWOOD MAC, but my point is that MIDLAKE concocts an eclectic and more emotionally grounded vision.

On first listens this is just pleasant enough, but it is with every return visit to MIDLAKE's alternate reality that one comes to appreciate the album's ability to transport its audience. Its progressive virtues slowly and shyly reveal themselves in tracks like the stunning "Young Bride", which hints at the band's upcoming subservience to all matters English; "Branches", which shuffles along before tastefully bursting out; "In this Camp" and the plaintive keeper "Bandits". But really, all the material presented here is good or better, ultimately made excellent by the manner in which it is loyally compiled. Yes, even, maybe especially, the FLEETWOOD MAC related indulgences like "Roscoe" and driving beauty "Head Home",

While not matching the immediate impact of the follow up "The Courage of Others", "Trials of Van Occupanther" may ultimately prove more sustaining. Time will tell, but, in the case of "Trials" the verdict is in.

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 The Courage of Others by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.44 | 34 ratings

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The Courage of Others
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by Frankie Flowers

4 stars This was Midlake's third album that followed four years after "The Trials Of Van Occupanther". It's a much stronger work over all. And this time there's an overwhelming influence of English folk rock. For those who have enjoyed works by Fairport Convention, Pentangle or Nick Drake, this ought to sound like a wonderful prospect, and it really is wonderful coming from this band. This album shouldn't disappoint lovers of early progressive folk, especially with such tracks like "Acts Of Man" and "Winter Dies". The melodies leave a deep impression and Tim Smith's vocals along with the harmonizing sometimes give me goosebumps, no more than the opening to the chorus of "Core of Nature" - 'Into the core of nature, No earthly mind can enter' which is a line from a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. There's more flute work on this album too and the very atmospheric solo on "Rulers, Ruling All Things" feels like a friendly nod to some early Moody Blues pieces. If you compare this to "Trials", with its use of more electric guitars and keyboards, this has a more early 70's feel, and it is really a different experience. It's only a pity that like with most band's these days, we often have to wait a few years between album releases. Still, with music this great it's better late than never! Keep listening to this album, it will grow on you more and more. Four solid stars.

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 The Trials of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.79 | 16 ratings

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The Trials of Van Occupanther
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by Frankie Flowers

3 stars It's great to see Midlake are here on the prog archives. I was very pleased to discover this Texan band upon this album's release. This was their second studio album, and as another reviewer pointed out, there are heavy influences from 1970's American-styled psychedelic folk-rock such as Neil Young and I also feel some Fleetwood Mac among others, especially on the opening track "Roscoe". It's a lush, melodic album and well-constructed with emotional, harmonic vocals sometimes reminding me of Simon and Garfunkel, though at the same time there's still no mistaking their sound for anyone else's. The lyrics are often enchanting bringing up imagery set in woodlands, boats and log cabins; telling some moving tales of pioneering, travel and isolation. It really has the power to take the listener away. 'Bandits' delivers a nice message to reflect on about our possessions. The instrumentation is wonderful, nice work from the flute and acoustics and also analog synthesisers. The first three songs are the strongest, "Head Home" being the best of all. I'll have to agree with Finnforest that the second half of the album isn't quite as strong as the first half, though there are some fine melancholic pieces. I really like "We gathered In Spring" with its glistening 80's sounding keyboards and "It Covers The Hillsides" is really nice too, though the last two pieces sound like bonus tracks. This is a good album in all however, highly recommended to fans of the prog-folk genre.

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 The Courage of Others by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.44 | 34 ratings

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The Courage of Others
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

5 stars It's all too easy to dismiss modern rock as a triumph of style over substance, tuneless rhyming, so much noise, but that would be too much like how parents have decried their kids' music ever since "Rock around the Clock", and probably well before. The older one gets, the harder it becomes to keep up with changes in pop culture, as occupied as one becomes with work, kids, or other interests and commitments like a perennial search for the best modern prog recording. Actually, none of those pursuits is necessarily age related. And none of what I am saying necessarily applies to MIDLAKE's "Courage of Others. That is because this is unabashed throwback to that better time, which happened to be prog's peak. MIDLAKE rests on the periphery of the genre of our affection, again neither here nor there, because their latest album occupies the molten core at all that was best in music during the early 70s, preserved with integrity, and shuttled to the present day while rendering any "best before" dates superfluous.

The influences of progressive and non progressive artists of the 70s suffuses the MIDLAKE personality like Florida sun on a northerner's pale February skin. The opening cut "Acts of Man"'s guitars are picked like Fripp on "Epitaph", and the melody is almost as enduring. Elsewhere, although less obviously, we are reminded of TULL, STRAWBS, PENTANGLE and, generally, WISHBONE ASH in perennial ballad mode. The sensitive touch of an AMERICA or even a BREAD can also be discerned. The monster cut "Children of the Grounds" pays FLEETWOOD MAC homage, tying together disparate eras like that of BOB WELCH and LINDSAY BUCKINGHAM. But the other many highlights establish the credentials of that rare serious band who elevate themselves above mere alternative rock to alternative lifestyle - "Rulers, Ruling All Things", "Winter Dies", "Core of Nature", and the stunning closer "In the Ground", which is probably the most progressive piece here in the literal and interpretive sense. In the end, MIDLAKE's earnest dramatic and nigh irrevocable expression of loss and their acoustic British Isles prog folk reveries establish their uncool credentials in a manner that scuttles most alt rock bands however alternative they may profess to be. I'm sold.

It would have been a tad immodest but not at all inaccurate for MIDLAKE to have titled this "The Courage of Ourselves". A modern retro masterpiece.

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 The Trials of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.79 | 16 ratings

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The Trials of Van Occupanther
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Woodsy indie folk-rock with a slight dark tinge

Midlake is an indie rock band from Denton, Texas around since the late 1990s, with three unique and different studio albums to their name. Their middle album is the forest-friendly folk/art-rock collection 'The Trials of Van Occupanther.' While there is little prog to be found here (their next album would be proggier if that matters to you) this album was quite a surprise when I purchased it in 2006. It channels and celebrates some of the best acoustic rock moments of the 1970s, California rock, folk-rock, bands like America, Pure Prairie League, and Neil Young (especially the album 'After the Gold Rush' which carries a very similar vibe-more on that later). This love of that era is blended with modern sensibilities, and while the band claims a Radiohead influence, I hear a softer, less jammy version of My Morning Jacket personally.

The album is a mixed bag with a drop-dead excellent first half and a second half that doesn't come close to matching it. It starts very strong with the superb, totally accessible alt-country of 'Roscoe' featuring a bludgeoning bass line and nice piano fills in around the edges, with moody themes that conjure thoughts of secretive past days. 'Bandits' and the title track show off the mellow and acoustic side, where multiple warm guitars and amazing vocal harmonies fill out these odes to freedom and woodland fantasy, at least that's what the lyrics mean to me, escape. 'Young Bride' is another stellar highlight. An incredible opening of fiddle music is sideswiped by this colorful drum shuffle that just interrupts it for a most unusual song feel, then the track swoons with more gorgeous melody and great storytelling, really impressive. Several tracks are adorned with flute or keyboards to thicken the guitars. But as mentioned, side two cannot maintain the same level of quality. The second half sounds less inspired and more repetitive, with simpler acoustic numbers which have less surprises and less interesting arrangements. It brings the album down a full star without question. Still, 'Van Occupanther' is a homey and heartfelt collection of songs that should appeal to fans of wistful 70s guitar/harmony rock. It's a great album for a ride in the country or sharing a beer with friends.

Again, if you like the album 'After the Gold Rush' I would definitely recommend this one which shares it spirit. 'Van Occupanther' for me recalls songs like 'Tell Me Why,' 'Till the Morning Comes,' and 'I Believe in You.' If you like that side of Neil, buy this one.

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Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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