At least around Unfair Park HQ, a mere mention of the word "Midlake" can spawn a fairly heated debate: On one side are those who dig the Denton band's lush brand of soft-rock; on the other are thems who think the band nothing more than a soggy loaf of Bread. One thing's fo' sho': Midlake's a pretty decent live band -- especially at this late date, as it finds new ways of keeping its older songs interesting for both the audience and itself. (The songs are considerably more expansive now -- they're big and beautiful.) And as proof we offer this link to a very nicely recorded September 27 show at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle, which includes "The Pills Won't Help You Now," written with the Chemical Brothers.
And while we're pimping these fine recordings, here are two other end-o'-the-week recommendations. Stereogum's making available, completely gratis, a 15th-anniversary tribute to R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People. Among the artists featured are Blitzen Trapper, the Shout Out Louds, Dr. Dog, the Meat Puppets and Rogue Wave. And the album comes complete with liner notes, from each participating band and Mike Mills, and an essay by Fluxblog's Matthew Pepetua.
Also a worthy addition to the weekend playlist is The Alternate Bookends, featuring different versions of songs found on Simon & Garfunkel's 1968 release. Because any version of "America" is a good version, especially this one. And, hey, it's kinda local, right, Mr. Brickell? --Robert Wilonsky
Update: Also just stumbled across some newly posted pristine Johnny Cash live tracks recorded in Austin on December 8, 1994, in support of American Recordings. And you really should grab this cover: the Foo Fighters performing "Band on the Run." Then play it loud.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.