Midlake

Midlake & Opinions on Eddie Vedder

A formerly buried treasure gets unearthed live on the show. Denton, TX quintet Midlake joins Jim and Greg for an interview and live performance. Then, stay tuned for their review of Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder's first solo record.

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Music News

Jim and Greg discussed the great Kanye West/50 Cent sales battle a couple of weeks ago, and this week the results are in. Kanye took it in a landslide with a #1 spot on the Billboard charts and a whopping 957,000 copies sold. Kanye's album Graduation is the biggest selling album so far this year and is the 15th biggest sales frame since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. 50 Cent's album Curtis only sold 691,000 in the first week, though for a hip hop debut that's nothing to scoff at. As Jim and Greg note, no one should shed a tear for 50 Cent. On Forbes' list of the biggest earning hip hop stars, Fiddy holds the #2 spot behind mogul Jay-Z. So, despite this recent loss, 50 Cent is laughing "Straight to the Bank."

If you've been surfing YouTube recently, you may have noticed Trent Reznor's call for more stealing. The man behind Nine Inch Nails is fed up with his record company's decision to hike prices for his album Year Zero and he let his grievances be known at an Australian concert. While he doesn't legally have the authority to give his music away, he does have a point; HMV in Australia is selling Year Zero for AU $32.99, which converts to about $28 in the States. That's definitely more than a music fan should have to pay for an album, especially one that utilized a web-based marketing campaign.

And while one musician embraces the web, another does not. Pop icon Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to“reclaim his art on the Internet.”In a recent statement his representative wrote:“YouTube … are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success.”Prince obviously doesn‘t need to use the web to build a fan base, but to Sound Opinions H.Q., he’s beginning to sound like a cranky old man.

Also in the news is the death of longtime James Brown collaborator Bobby Byrd at the age of 73. One of the chief architects of Brown's trademark sound, Byrd is often referred to as“The Godfather of Soul's Godfather.”You can hear his contribution in tons of early Brown tracks. In fact, the repeating phrase“Get on up,”on "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" was sung by Byrd. Byrd also had a successful solo career, and as Greg explains, his music can be heard sampled in countless late early hip hop songs. To pay honor to the soul/funk/R&B legend, Jim and Greg play his song, "I Know You Got Soul."

Jim and Greg speak with John Jurgensen, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. John recently wrote an article about how US visa procedures are squelching a British pop invasion. Artists like Lily Allen, M.I.A. and recent Mercury Prize winners The Klaxons have had to cancel tour dates and postpone recording sessions due to difficulties obtaining visas. John explains that this is partly due to Homeland Security crackdowns, which now mandate that artists themselves have to go to an embassy in person for fingerprinting and a retinal scan. John also says that artists have to prove that that they are legitimate,“internationally recognizable”acts. Jim and Greg wonder just how much more legit you have to be if Mercury Prize winners are getting hassled. The three reporters understand that these procedures are in place not just to protect Americans from danger but also from a loss of jobs, but unlike in the agriculture and technology industries, you can't sub one musician for another. And a loss of jobs and tour dates for one singer means the loss of many for the hundreds and thousands of promoters, roadies, sound engineers and teamsters here in the States.

interview

Midlake

When Jim and Greg were at SXSW last year they discovered one of their new favorite bands: Midlake. The Denton, TX quintet have been around for about 10 years, but Greg notes that the current Midlake is almost unrecognizable from the old one. He and Jim talk with three-fifths of the band (Eric Pulido, Eric Nichelson, Tim Smith) about how they came together and evolved. The lead singer Tim explains that OK Computer was integral to their development from a 30-minute jam band to what they are today. Psychedelic music fan Jim also wanted to ask what is in the water in Denton. Considering the size and location of the city, it's surprising how many bands came out of there. Eric Pullido, the band's rhythm guitarist, responds that the Denton community really supports art and music.

During their visit Tim and the two Erics of Midlake play "Van Occupanther" off their 2006 release The Trials of Van Occupanther. Tim, the chief songwriter, explains that during a game of “strangest name,”someone came up with Van Occupanther, and everything followed from there. He dismisses the notion of a“concept record,”but admits that there are recurring themes and a cohesive nature to the album due to the fact that all the songs stem from one person. The band also plays "Chasing After Deer," and discusses the process of writing Jim, Greg and Jason Lytle's favorite track, "Roscoe." You can also hear the bonus track "Bandits" here.

reviewInto the Wild (Music from the Motion Picture)Into the Wild available on iTunes

Eddie Vedder Into the Wild

After 17 years fronting Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder has released his first solo album, Into the Wild. The album provides the soundtrack to Sean Penn's new movie based on Jon Krakauer's 1991 book of the same name. It's the story of an existentialist kid who leaves civilization to go live in the wild. Jim and Greg can understand why this kind of story appealed to Vedder, who fled the Chicago suburbs for the West Coast. The songs on this record are very stripped down and showcase Vedder's strong baritone. Both critics love the way the record sounds and love the cover of Indio's "Hard Sun." Where they take issue with Vedder is with the lyricism. It doesn't take long for the pseudo-new-age-quasi-mystical poetry to get old, and therefore, Into the Wild only get two Try Its.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Kanye West, Champion, Graduation, Roc-A-Fella, 2007
  2. Nine Inch Nails, Beginning of the End, Year Zero, Universal, 2007
  3. Lily Allen, LDN, Alright Still, Regal, 2006
  4. James Brown, Get Up (Sex Machine), Sex Machine, Polydor, 1970
  5. Bobby Byrd, I Know You got Soul, The Bobby Byrd Got Soul: The Best of Bobby Byrd, Alston, 1995
  6. Midlake, Van Occupanther (Live on Sound Opinions), The Trials of Van Occupanther, Bella Union, 2006
  7. Midlake, Chasing After Deer (Live on Sound Opinions), The Trials of Van Occupanther, Bella Union, 2006
  8. Midlake, Roscoe, The Trials of Van Occupanther, Bella Union, 2006
  9. Eddie Vedder, Setting Forth, Into the Wild, J, 2007
  10. Eddie Vedder, Hard Sun, Into the Wild, J, 2007
  11. Justice, Phantom Part II, Cross, Ed Banger, 2007
  12. Kraftwerk, The Telephone Call, Electric Cafe, Elektra, 1986
  13. Flaming Lips, She Don't Use Jelly, Transmissions from the Satellite Heart, Warner Bros., 1993
  14. The Flaming Lips, Fight Test, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Warner Bros., 2002

Footnotes

metacritic.com Graduation metacritic.com Curtis anysonglyrics.com“Straight to the Bank”lyrics stereogum.com Trent Reznor To Australia: Steal My $#!t nin.com Nine Inch Nails wsj.com U.S. Repels British Invasion bbc.co.uk Lily Allen's US work visa revoked nme.com MIA denied entry to the US guardian.co.uk Klaxons are the big noise on Mercury awards night washingtonpost.com Obituary of Bobby Byrd allmusic.com I Know You Got Soul midlake.net Midlake cityofdenton.com City of Denton, TX allmusic.com OK Computer google.com Jim's book Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock metacritic.com The Trials of Van Occupanther youtube.com“Chasing After Deer”music video pearljam.com Pearl Jam allmusic.com Eddie Vedder randomhouse.com About author Jon Krakauer