August 8, 2009

The Middle East

I first saw The Middle East play in 2005 and was pretty blown away by their intense performance in a tent at a very dusty festival. At that point early in their life they were touting a sound that was intense and post-rock in nature. I’ve been on The Middle East bandwagon since that first show, and had the opportunity to see them play a number of times in those early years at small venues around Sydney where their intensity continued, but their post-rock sound started to subdue somewhat. In 2007 i saw them again, this time they brought a choir and a change in their sound was apparent. Then things went quiet for the band, in fact at some point they broke up entirely, and i thought that it was the untimely end of yet another stellar indie group.

All of a sudden however they sprang back to life, as their often mystifying myspace page touted a new release and their reformation as they rose from the dead to start playing shows again. Further, and to my great excitement Mark Myers, (formerly of Townsville stable mates Sleeping In Trains-who’s sound is somewhat representative of The Middle East’s early sound) had not only produced a recording by the band, but was joining them.

The recording was the perfunctorily titled Recordings of The Middle East and came complete with a hand scrawled tracklisting inside it. The band had changed a lot, taking on a folk sensibility and a different sort of intensity, yes it was different, but my gosh was it beautiful. Since i got that release about a year ago i have witnessed the steady ascendancy of The Middle East. First garnering repeated airplay on FBi, then Triple J, then signing to leading local indie label Spunk who released an abridged version of Recordings of The Middle East as an EP. Recently the band played Splendour In The Grass and supported the UK’s Doves on their side-shows. A pretty rapid rise from this band which not so long ago was dead in the water!

Here is one of the three songs which was cut from the original recordings to make the EP, the songs which made it onto the EP are perhaps more concise, but no less sweeping and beautiful and i can highly recommend that you pick it up.

The Middle East-Pig Food

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