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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Sunday, February 07, 2010

CD Giveaway: Midlake's "The Courage Of Others"

After a wait of nearly four years since their breakthrough full-length, "The Trials of Van Occupanther", Midlake returned with last Tuesday's arrival of their third album, "The Courage of Others". Criticism has been wide-ranging, from unqualified raves (see the AVClub) to flat-out dismissals (from you know who), and while I fall somewhere in the middle, I'm definitely heading in the direction of 'rave'.

Though I was immediately impressed upon Van Occupanther's release, it did take awhile for its magic to truly charm me, so I'm hesitant to judge this new one too quickly. It has the disadvantage of increased expectations, and if you come looking for the catchier, more upbeat side of the band (a la signature song, "Roscoe"), you'll have to look elsewhere. The hooks here are subtler, more drawn out... sometimes hard to find at all. "The Courage Of Others" is a drastically moodier affair - the band takes a fair amount of risk within the sonic box they've placed themselves in.

During the long wait for the album I wondered, given that every review of their previous one mentioned the same 70's touchstones (Fleetwood Mac, Fairport Convention, etc), if the band took so long in an over-thought effort to reinvent themselves. Well, the answer is very simply no, but they've definitely gone darker and deeper, and are taking hits for it. For every band that tries too hard to change up their formula and fails hard, there are those that work within what they know (and what many love them for) to craft a worthy follow-up. I think that's where Midlake is at, coming up with a collection of songs that is just different enough from its predecessor to avoid redundancy, yet still rub a few followers the wrong way.

Thanks to the folks at Filter, I've got a couple copies of Midlake's "The Courage of Others" on CD to hand out to 'Nac readers. If you reside in the continental U.S., drop an email to giveaways [at] bradleysalmanac [dot] com entitled "MIDLAKE" before this coming Friday, February 12th at 9am. I'll fire up the randomizer and pick two winners that day, then get in touch for mailing addresses.

As the ceaseless (and increasingly rapid) consume/judge/move-on cycle that is today's internet-music-review-machine chews new albums up and spits 'em out, I look forward to spending the rest of the winter letting this one sink in, and to Midlake's April 9th stop in Boston near the end up their upcoming U.S. tour. I remember very distinctly their visit to TT the Bears back in 2006, playing first of three bands, and how enamored I was of their live set. They headlined both the Middle East Upstairs and then the Paradise the following year, but haven't been back since. (and thanks to Kevin in the comments for setting me straight on those headlining gigs, both of which I missed. The 'Nac intern responsible for fact-checking has been sacked)

Stream "The Courage Of Others" over at NPR, and if you're in the Boston area, stop by Newbury Comics, where I picked up the CD for a measly $7.99 (with a sticker on the front that ironically included previous praise from P4K). A nice surprise? Finding an insert inside with a download code for bonus track "Rose Of Dawn" (which easily measures up to the rest of the album) and a hi-res quicktime file of the Jason-Lee-directed teaser film above. Which could be looked at as an attempt to culturally balance out his work in the Chipmunk films.


featured mp3 download
neil halstead
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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