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Midlake

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Denton TX, United States (1999 – present)

Midlake is an American rock band from Denton, Texas, that formed in 1999. The band first gained popularity in Europe.

Midlake began in 1999 by a group of jazz students at the University of North Texas. The original lineup consisted of Tim Smith (vocals, guitars, keyboards), McKenzie Smith (drums), Paul Alexander (bass), Eric Nichelson (guitar), and Evan Jacobs (keyboards). Their initial work (under the working name The Cornbread All-Stars) consisted of funk/jazz explorations heavily influenced by Herbie Hancock.

Later the band began to lean more toward an indie rock sound. Tim Smith quit playing saxophone and began writing songs that were heavily influenced by bands such as Jethro Tull, Radiohead, Travis, and Grandaddy. Smith says about that: “We don’t want to get called a Radiohead rip-off band. I think Radiohead is a lot closer to my natural tendencies as a songwriter than a band like, um, Jethro Tull. I listen to way more Jethro Tull than I do Radiohead these days, but I could write 10 Radiohead songs before I could write one Jethro Tull song. I want to sound more like Jethro Tull, but I just can’t. That’s a big struggle.”

Jacobs left the band and Eric Nichelson took over on keyboard. Jason Upshaw joined the band as a guitarist. Live recordings from this period, recorded at Denton’s Panhandle House studio, were never released as the band felt they had moved beyond the material.

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