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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) <<

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The Trials of Van Occupanther (10thAnniversary Edition)The Trials of Van Occupanther (10thAnniversary Edition)
Bella Union 2016
Vinyl$22.09
$33.15 (used)
Milkmaid Grand ArmyMilkmaid Grand Army
EP
Nova Posta Vinyl 2015
Audio CD$12.63
$10.43 (used)
AntiphonAntiphon
ATO Records 2013
Audio CD$5.50
$2.98 (used)
Courage of OthersCourage of Others
Bella Union 2010
Audio CD$3.44
$0.33 (used)
Late Night TalesLate Night Tales
LATE NIGHT TALES 2011
Audio CD$7.06
$7.03 (used)
Bamnan & SlivercorkBamnan & Slivercork
BELLA UNION 2008
Audio CD$6.15
$5.52 (used)
Live in Denton TxLive in Denton Tx
Ato Records 2015
Vinyl$7.98
$199.00 (used)
Trials of Van Occupanther-LimitedTrials of Van Occupanther-Limited
Import
Phantom Sound & Vision 2006
Audio CD$324.77
$48.06 (used)
Acts of Man [Vinyl]Acts of Man [Vinyl]
Bella Union 2009
Vinyl$7.00
$6.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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Midlake, The Trials Of Van Occupanther signed by original band members USD $125.55 [0 bids]
2h
UNCUT CD WHITE WINTER HYMNALS FOLK COMPILATION 2009 FLEET FOXES VETIVER MIDLAKE USD $2.82 [0 bids]
3h 56m
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MIDLAKE Am I Going Insane 12" VINYL 2 Track 12 Inch (Aln1224) European Late USD $16.43 Buy It Now 3 days
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Antiphon [Digipak] * by Midlake (CD, Nov-2013, ATO (USA)) USD $14.01 Buy It Now 4 days
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The Courage Of Others (Special Edition) Midlake Audio CD USD $13.19 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE "Live In Denton" LP- Record Store Day 2015 Exclusive - Film DVD Included USD $21.99 Buy It Now 6 days
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MIDLAKE Courage Of Others CD 11 Track (bellacd224) EUROPEAN Bella Union 2010 USD $6.26 Buy It Now 6 days
The Trials of Van Occupanther by Midlake. USD $42.81 Buy It Now 7 days
UNCUT Paul Weller: Soul & Fire 11-trk CD NEW Midlake Big Youth The Hold Steady USD $6.26 Buy It Now 7 days
MOJO Come On Let's Go! 15-trk CD Paul Weller Broadcast Tame Impala Midlake USD $7.52 Buy It Now 7 days
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The Trials of Van Occupanther by Midlake (CD, 2006, Bella Union) (cd6687) USD $13.85 Buy It Now 9 days
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Midlake, Acts of Man (2009, Vinyl EP) Bella Union, ltd. to 500 edition USD $9.00 Buy It Now 12 days
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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)

2.77 | 12 ratings
Bamnan and Slivercork
2001
4.07 | 31 ratings
The Trials of Van Occupanther
2006
4.18 | 65 ratings
The Courage of Others
2010
4.06 | 27 ratings
Antiphon
2013

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Midlake: Live In Denton, TX
2015

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

3.50 | 2 ratings
Late Night Tales
2011

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Kingfish Pies
2004
5.00 | 1 ratings
Milkmaid Grand Army
2006

MIDLAKE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bamnan and Slivercork by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.77 | 12 ratings

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Bamnan and Slivercork
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars On this debut MIDLAKE established its "lo-fi" credentials, which were subsequently wagged off the drawing board by the tails of Mr Occupanther a few years later. While this quirky pop disk possesses a certain charm, particularly in the early going, the overall impression that I can't shake is that it's rather silly, amateurish and half-hearted. I know this is likely the point of the exercise and the whole lo fi movement. but I can't see a lot of prog fans embracing the utter lack of gravitas any more than the quirky instrumentation that sounds like a hack saw being bent just so, so often. That said, I have read reviews describing this as their most proggy and best release, but you've been forewarned.

When I saw the band live a few years ago, they made light of this material and strongly implied that they would just as soon omit it. If this were an EP containing the best tracks, like "They Cannot Let it Expand", "Balloon Maker", "King fish pies" and "Some of them were superstitious", it might garner a favorable rating just for its off kilter BEACH BOYS meets BEATLES whimsy on 21st century designer drugs, but, really, the last half is utterly extraneous even by the modest standards set by the first. One can discern a superficial kinship with some of the lighter fare out of the Canterbury scene, but when you gingerly cross the wobbly suspension bridge, you'll find yourself in a Texas college town, where apparently, by state law, students can now carry concealed guns. I might suggest that this disk be the first and only victim.

 Antiphon by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 27 ratings

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Antiphon
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars Midlake's first album after the departure of front man and chief songwriter, Tim Smith. Tim Smith's talents are considerable but Antiphon shows us just how talented Smith's band mates are--and how their founder's talents may, in fact, have overshadowed and suppressed the full display of Midlake's true potential.

This is an amazing album. A very smooth, melodic, instrumentally diverse and sophisticated album on which the participation and contributions of every member of the whole band is strongly felt.

I am in total bliss as I listen to songs 5 through 10, "Vale" (4:31), "Aurora Gone" (4:38), "Ages" (4:39), "This Weight" (3:34), "Corruption" (5:18), "Provider Reprise" (5:01). They are all, each and everyone, masterpieces of Prog Folk. And the opening four songs are very strong, very interesting, as well.

One of my favorite Prog Folk albums of all-time--and much preferable to Van Occupanther.

 The Courage of Others by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.18 | 65 ratings

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The Courage of Others
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

3 stars I find this album quite a step down from 2006's masterful Trials of Van Occupanther. The songs are much more lead vocal dominant and Tim Smith's lead vocals are much more monotonous. Slow monotone drone-like singing that sounds tired. Gone is the beautiful, evenly mixed blend of instruments and harmonized vocals. Gone is the upbeat, sometimes playful bounce and singing styles. No song stands out above the others as half a dozen on Van Occupanther border on stunning and spectacular. The one redeeming factor of The Courage of Others is the slight movement toward a sound more fitting to the prog world--like the Prog Folk groups of the 1970s and less like the perky Indie pop groups of the Naughties.

Album highlights: the delicate, emotional title song (3:20) (9/10); the insistent "Bring Down" (3:42) (9/10); the electrified "Winter Dies" (5:07) (8/10) and "Small Mountain" (3:39) (8/10).

This is a decent although monotonous album. Good for three stars.

 The Trials of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.07 | 31 ratings

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The Trials of Van Occupanther
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars A brilliant album of quite intricate and subtly constructed songs. A songwriting style that seems common to many Midlake songs is used to great success here: that is the process of slowly adding an assortment of instruments to flit and playfully dance around the lead vocal. Quite remarkable and endearing.

1. Fan favorite "Roscoe" (4:49) is not one of my personal favorites. (8/10)

2. "Bandits" (4:04) is a multi-dimensional, multi-part song that really displays a lust for story telling through the music as well as through the lyric. Quite an intricate display of composition and performance. One of the album's best. (9/10)

3. "Head Home" (5:45) contains some of my favorite vocal arrangements that I've heard in a long time--with quite daring and unexpected changes in direction and melody. (9/10)

4. "Van Occupanther" (3:15) is augmented by some stunningly delightful flute and woodwind play thorough out the song--brilliantly offsetting the flat-toned lead vocal. It's as if the vocal is the foundation and everybody else is dancing playfully around him. Amazing! My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

5. "Young Bride" (4:56) is a brilliant song in the vein of RODDY FRAME/AZTEC CAMERA and ARCADE FIRE. Another favorite. (10/10)

6. "Branches" (5:03) slows things down and gets a little bogged down in the syrup of the lyric & lead vocal. Nice piano work and song shifts. (8/10)

7. "In This Camp" (5:44) sees Tim Smith singing in that FLEET FOXES style upper register. Again nice piano support and subtle incidentals before the song crashes into the eminently cathy chorus melody. (9/10)

8. "We Gathered in Spring" (3:33) sees the band singing in some of the tightest, most even harmonies--CROSBY, STILLS & NASH and AMERICA-like. Beautiful. (9/10)

9. "It Covers the Hillsides" (3:14) is upbeat and bouncy in a MAMAS & THE PAPAS/JOHN SEBASTIAN way. (8/10)

10. "Chasing After Deer" (2:42) is another delicately embellished song--subtle instrumental touches gathering around the solid, beautifully sung lead vocal. (8/10)

11. "You Never Arrived" (1:39) (8/10)

An imaginative display of thoughtful, playful, yet beautifully executed song craftsmanship. 4.5 stars rated up for being so refreshing.

 The Courage of Others by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.18 | 65 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.
 Antiphon by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 27 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.

 Antiphon by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 27 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?

 The Trials of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.07 | 31 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.

 The Courage of Others by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.18 | 65 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.
 The Trials of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.07 | 31 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.
Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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