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Friday, February 12th, 2010

Acts Of Man

Review of Midlake’s The Courage Of Others

Photo By Bil ZelmanBil ZelmanHaving initially only announced tour dates in short, hesitant steps, Denton, Texas-based folk-pop revivalists Midlake have taken a deep breath, counted to ten, and slated an extensive North American tour in support of their new record The Courage Of Others that will include a local stop on May 21 at the Mod Club.

Though highly-anticipated, Courage is not drawing the sort of unanimous acclaim that its predecessor, 2006′s The Trials Of Van Occupanther, did, with some finding its even gentler tone exquisite and others deming it narcoleptic. I tend towards the latter – it is immaculately crafted, there’s no question there – but it lacks the dynamics of Van Occupanther and that was hardly a record of extreme peaks and valleys. It’s as though the band’s questing pilgrim has exited the rolling foothills and is now trekking across a wide-open plain. Scenic, perhaps, but not especially exhilarating. Of course, it took me a goodly amount of time – like a couple years – to come around to Van Occupanther‘s charms, so making any final declarations about the merits of Courage could be premature. For the moment, however, it’ll have to remain a record to go to when I’m feeling mellow, or needing to feel mellow. Or need some flute.

And Midlake live? They sound great, but maybe bring a book.

MusicOmh has an interview with Midlake frontman Tim Smith.

MP3: Midlake – “Acts Of Man”
MySpace: Midlake

Local hero Jim Guthrie continues his return to active duty with a show at the El Mocambo on March 26, supported by Culture Reject and PS I Love You.

MP3: Jim Guthrie – “You Are Far (Do You Exist?)”
MP3: Culture Reject – “Inside The Cinema”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”

Iceland’s Seabear, whose We Built A Fire is due out March 5 on Morr Music, will be at the Horseshoe on March 31.

MP3: Seabear – “Lion Face Boy”

Stroke gone solo Julian Casablancas will hit the road this Spring in support of his solo record Phrazes For The Young… all eight songs of it. Look for him at the Phoenix on April 2, and look for a new Strokes album in September. Ish.

Video: Julian Casablancas – “11th Dimension”

Titus Andronicus bring the second leg of their “Monitour” to Sneaky Dee’s on April 9, in support of their Civil War-themed second album The Monitor, out March 9. Rolling Stone has a profile.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Four Score And Seven” (Part One)
MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Four Score And Seven” (Part Two)

Boston post-rock instrumentalists Caspian will bring their latest album Tertia to Rancho Relaxo on April 13.

MP3: Caspian – “Of Foam And Wave”

With their first cross-Canada tour in some time scheduled to kick off tonight in Victoria, Wilco are set to leave a trail of press clippings in their wake – check out interviews with band members at Kelowna.com, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Straight, FFWD, The National Post, The Edmonton Journal and The Province.

JAM and The Gauntlet have features on The Rural Alberta Advantage, who are re-releasing Hometowns on their new home at Paper Bag Records – the CD on March 2 and limited-edition, blue vinyl LP on March 23.

The Ottawa Citizen, The Chronicle-Herald, Spinner and hour.ca talk to Basia Bulat, while The Montreal Gazette gets a peak inside her iPod. She will play an in-store at Soundscapes on Tuesday evening at 7PM.

The Scope and Ottawa X-Press have features on Owen Pallett. He is at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.

Drowned In Sound meets Retribution Gospel Choir’s Alan Sparhawk.

Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers talks to News & Observer and The AV Club about the forthcoming documentary about the band, The Secret To A Happy Ending. Their new album The Big To-Do is out March 16 and they’ve got two dates at Lee’s Palace on April 6 and 7.

Also mad for the two-fer is Jonsi, who is setting up shop at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1 – NPR has an acoustic performance from the Sigur Ros frontman, whose solo debut Go arrives March 23.

NME reports that Kate Nash’s still-untitled second album is due for release on April 19, and a new track is available to whomever signs up for her mailing list. I have to say I’m not overly impressed with that first sample, and not just because they give you a freaking WMA file. Who does that?

Also back and bearing gifts are The Pipettes, whose lineup is now made up of I have no idea who. Presumably this means a new album is coming this year? Update: Yes – Earth vs Pipettes is due out this Summer.

Video: The Pipettes – “Our Love Was Saved By A Spaceman”

Interview interviews Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.

The Antlers have released a new video from Hospice and The Boston Globe has a feature piece. They are at The Phoenix next Tuesday night.

Video: The Antlers – “Bear”

Ra Ra Riot bassist Mathieu Santos gives Rolling Stone an idea of what to expect from album number two, when it arrives this Summer.

The Toronto Star, Spinner and The Globe & Mail reflect on the end of Wavelength, which wraps up the weekly series this Sunday night.

By : Frank Yang at 8:31 am
Category: General

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RSS Feed for this post6 Responses.
  1. Scott says:

    Curious about the new Midlake – it has been a CRAZY divisive album…

    In the vein of pastorally-influenced pop… some folks here might care about this:
    http://www.admiralradley.com/

    Half Grandaddy (Jason and Aaron) and half Earlimart (Aaron and Ariana).

  2. Brad says:

    So glad to see you plug the Caspian show. One of our greatest exports (where ‘our’ = ‘Boston’). Pack that place, Toronto, they won’t letcha down.

  3. bike says:

    What happened to the RAA’s American label?

  4. Frank Yang says:

    they’re still on Saddle Creek there. Being on a Canadian label in Canada gets you access to grant money and other good socialist stuff

  5. Never Had To Fight | music, film, photography, information technology says:

    [...] Interview interviews Stephin Merritt. (Courtesy of Chromewaves) [...]

  6. Adrian says:

    I kind of agree about the new Midlake album..it’s definitely a grower but for me doesn’t have as many high points as Van Occupanther. I saw them live in an intimate venue here in Liverpool a couple of weeks ago and they were mesmerising..a brilliant show with so much going on on stage. In fact, going to see them again next week in a larger venue in Manchester. Can’t wait!