The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Music Picks

Thought Old-School Albums Were Dead?

They're ba-ack! Midlake's secret gems.

By Elaine Corden 22 Nov 2007 |

Elaine Corden writes regularly about music and pop culture for The Tyee.

image atom
11-track wonder I play near ad-nauseum.

One of the perils of writing about music for an (almost) living is that no one will ever make you mixed tapes. Spout your mouth off for long enough about bands being overrated, underrated, overexposed or criminally unknown, and people will stop letting you in on secrets gems they've found, fearing, quite rightly, that you'll roll your eyes, or produce a rare EP from the band in question, like, from before they were famous.

I can only assume this is why The Trials of Van Occupanther, by Texan outfit Midlake, didn't make its way to me sooner. Released in summer of 2006, this 11-track wonder finally arrived in my ear canal in September 2007, and ever since, I've been playing it near ad-nauseam, forcing anyone who comes within 10 feet of my stereo to listen to this "new" band I've found. In other news: sliced bread.

Essentially a concept album about a man, Van Occupanther, living in a sort of pastoral dystopia, Trials is a record for those who miss records. From opening track "Roscoe," an endlessly listenable track which recalls both Fleetwood Mac and the non-awful output of Jefferson Starship, to the cheesy synthed "We Gathered In Spring," to the closing track, "You Never Arrived," all the songs on Trials are sonically and lyrically simpatico, pieces of a whole album as opposed to scattershot flights of brilliance tacked together by some hackneyed cover art. It's like the band never heard of iTunes.

For that reason, it's hard to pick one track off the record. The aforementioned "Roscoe" enjoyed the most spins when I initially acquired the album, but the sounds-awful-on-paper "Young Bride," with its Chinese violin, disco-influenced drums and Crosby, Stills and Nash-style vocal harmonies is currently my favourite. Here is as good a place as any to mention that several songs on the record recall much-chided prog outfit The Alan Parsons Project. One of the perils of listening to Midlake is that you may find yourself suddenly extolling the virtues of "Eye In The Sky."

Really, it's almost criminal to break the songs up. For a band to make the unfashionable move of releasing a 1970s-style concept album, despite the fact that industry experts everywhere are pronouncing traditional albums dead, is a bold move. It may not contain a catchy, ready-for-your-iPod track, and it may, therefore, take a while to find its way to your ears, but, long after you're sick of those 99-cent singles (sad really, that Biggie Fries at Wendy's and the latest New Pornographers single enjoy the same price point), this album will endure.

Related Tyee stories:


Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll