Saturday, February 01, 2014

My First Favorite New Album of 2014!

I'm still an "album guy" - I love to find an entire album I can get into by a band or artist, one that sustains itself all the way through with little to no filler. As 2013 ended, the Arctic Monkeys' "AM" had been doing that for me - still love the album! It's around "proper" length, too, 42 minutes long. Another favorite album experience from last year was Phosphorescent's "Muchacho" - although it clocked in at a whopping 46 minutes.

I've always felt the best albums were about 45 minutes long. Goes way back - not just because my commute  to work is 45 minutes each way currently. That's one thing vinyl helped bands get right - maybe it was because you could only fit around 22 minutes of music on each side of a Long Play (LP) album, but that length seemed somehow correct, as if that time constraint helped bands focus their material down to what mattered (If you're into semantics, I term the body of work "album" because that's what the word album means - a collection, like a photo album, for a different example. The format the music is presented on and in can change - vinyl, cassette, CD, file - it's still an album. "EP" - extended play - and "LP" are modifiers, even when the word "album" is left off. And? single... is just a single. By the way? There's really no justification for calling an extra track that comes with a main single track a "B-Side" anymore - 'cept that it sounds cool, so we'll roll with that. Ahem. Semantics digression done).

These days, the album I'm listening to almost too much, on the commute and at home, is the latest from Midlake - "Antiphon". The band is new to me, though they've been around for a while. The album came out late last year - they just sent a song out to radio, which is how I heard of them. Learned they went through a big personnel shift recording this album, when their original lead singer and songwriter left. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Eric Pulido stepped up to lead vocals, two new members were added, and they started over, crafting an album I've been playing on repeat!

The vocals are layered with subtle harmonies that occasionally soar - drums remind me of Jon Fishman's busy Nick Mason-esque playing - keyboards and flute are reminiscent of British bands of the early seventies without sounding "retro" - the songs sometimes remind me of pre-Dark Side of The Moon Pink Floyd, early Alan Parsons Project or early Moody Blues, but without the hollow ring of mimicry.  Midlake has arrived at this place on their own. Who knew you could find your way here from Denton, Texas?

We've added the "single" - "The Old And The Young" - to our rotation at The Point ( They've got a very cool video for the tune:

Speaking of video, Midlake has Antiphon up on YouTube for streaming, so you can hear it for yourself! Be sure to switch to HD - the video stays the same, but the audio gets MUCH better:

It's my first new favorite album of the new year!