There hasn’t been a whole lot of talk, at least amongst the NYC set, about Denton, TX band Midlake, so I’ll take this opportunity to do so. Their newly-released second album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, is one of my favorites of 2006 so far. British mags are throwing around Flaming Lips and Radiohead comparisons, but to me they sound like something transported from the early ’70s. Folk rock with lush instrumentation, gorgeous, dense harmonies, and some psychedelic/proggy flourishes as well… it’s quite a lovely album.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what skateboarder/Kevin Smith pal/My Name is Earl star Jason Lee says…
"The Trials of Van Occupanther is now one of the most important modern records I own. In an age of overly-used
irony and disconnected nonchalance, this record actually
means something, and MidlakeVan Occupanther has backbone, and the fact that you don’t
feel cheated by it gives one hope that sincerity can still exist
within modern alternative music." should be forever hailed for
their unique and genuine approach to music. Simply put, Van Occupanther has backbone, and the fact that you don’t feel cheated by it gives one hope that sincerity can still exist within modern alternative music."
What he said. I can’t wait to hear if they can really replicate the album’s sonics onstage when Midlake play Mercury Lounge on June 20. The Trials of Van Occupanther has yet to receive Stateside distribution (what’s up with that?), so maybe the show won’t sell out, but I’d buy tickets just in case.
There are some mp3s (zipped, no less) on the band’s somewhat out-of-date website, but here are a couple Van Occupanther gems to hopefully pique your interest: