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It's Hip to Be Square

Midlake prefers the summer breezes of Christopher Cross and other soft-rock faves. Which doesn't explain why the band's new record is genius.

The latest issue of Spin, which should be on stands any second now (it's the one with Johnny Knoxville on the cover; no, it's not the September 2003 issue), has on page 26 a story headlined "The Rebirth of Uncool: Indie rockers are giving Hall & Oates, America and other '70s softies their dewy due." What accounts for this hyping of the unhip, which includes...uh...Bread (whose October release features members of My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams and Smashing Pumpkin James Iha)? "Maybe it's the iPodization of culture," writes Sean Howe. "Listeners can rock themselves gently in the privacy of their own heads. Or maybe it's simply the emergence of a generation born too late to remember the gentle summer breezes of Seals and Croft."

Well, getting great mention in that story is Denton's Midlake, which is cited in the story as a band to buy if you like Fleetwood Mac, which, last I looked, had more cred than the band responsible for "Horse With No Name" and deserves better. Nonetheless, there is a defiantly soft-rock vibe to Midlake, whose new album The Trials of Van Occupanther might as well come dolled up in a crop top, denim flares and some lip gloss. (It's still brilliant, though--what's good enough for Wayne Coyne is good enough for me, besides.) Says singer Tim Smith in Spin: "I see [1970s soft rock] as really emotional music. Every once in a while, I listen to punk or Zeppelin, but all the other times I put on Christopher Cross around the house." Ya know, it's not far down to paradise. At least, it's not for me. --Robert Wilonsky

Very Bonus MP3:

Midlake, "It Covers the Hillsides" (from the Australian-only limited-edition release of The Trials of Van Occupanter)

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