Tuesday night, a little piece of central Texas will drop on Utah as both Midlake and Sarah Jaffe take the stage at Urban Lounge. But don’t expect much twang or a country vibe from these folks — they’re indie rockers through and through.
Both Jaffe and Midlake are from Denton, Texas, and both have some shared history and respect, while facing some big changes in the last couple years.
While recording the band’s fourth album, Midlake suffered what appears to be an irreconcilable split with lead singer and songwriter Tim Smith, who led the band through three critically-acclaimed albums. Creative problems and slow recording built up until, in late 2012, Smith quit the band.
It looks like the split was amicable, as much as these things ever are, but current members, led now by guitarist Eric Pulido, retained the Midlake monicker and quickly recorded their latest album, “Antipho0n.”
It’s rare that a band suffers that kind of a shakeup and is still able to produce a work that is recognizable and familiar, but actually really good, perhaps better than their last effort with Smith, “The Courage of Others.” Midlake seems to have done that with “Antiphon,” which retains the 70s psych-folk-rock flavor they have been known for, but pushes out into new territory. Pulido’s melodies are catchier and less abstract than Smith’s, while the rest of the band, based on sheer consistency, makes it clear that they have been contributing significantly to the sound, often credited solely to Smith, since day one.
Jaffe, a talented and original songwriter who said moving to Denton was “pivotal” for her, told The Tribune that Midlake guided her through her first long tour and her first European tour, and have always been “solid guys.”
From her latest album, “The Body Wins,” it’s clear that Jaffe doesn’t need much guidance anymore. It’s a confident, dynamic and rhythmic album that’s miles away from her first effort, “Suburban Nature.” That album was mostly composed of admirable, listenable folk songs that nonetheless won’t be blowing any minds. The difference between the two albums couldn’t be more pronounced.
“To me, it was a natural progression,” Jaffe said, pointing out that many of the songs on “Suburban Nature” were written when she was 17 or 18. She’s now largely moved past them.
“People will never look at an artist’s music the way the artist looks at the music,” she said.
Jaffe said new music is just around the corner. She has been recording with Midlake drummer McKenzie Smith, releasing two tracks in mid-2013. She said they’ll be working on more material come January as well.
Midlake with guest Sarah Jaffe
When • Tuesday, Dec. 10
Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $12 advance, $15 day of, at 24tix.com, plus $3.50 service fee