Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Record Review Week: My Morning Jacket's "Z" & "Okonokos"

I bought this album at the same time I bought Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips at a time when I was becoming very discouraged by modern bands and modern music in general. Heavily jaded by bands that sounded great upon first listen but lost their appeal after only a few spins (The Strokes being the most obvious), I decided to take a chance on these two albums I heard about from Paste Magazine and was absolutely blown away. Yoshimi was the favorite, right off the bat, but Z by MMJ just stayed with me. I would plug it in every week, listen, and hear something different and weird I didn't hear the spin before. Some new guitar solo or subtle drum break here, an alien blip/ blurb there. It didn’t leave my cd player for a couple of months and is still in heavy rotation on the old iPod. Start with Z then do yourself a favor and delve deeper into their back catalog and buy them all, including their early version compilation albums (at least download their cover version of Elton John’s "Rocket Man").

The absolute perfect medium for My Morning Jacket: THE LIVE ALBUM! I have to admit that this live document exceeded all my expectations. Yes, MMJ fans can be a little biased (they are, along with Wilcoheads--an insufferable lot!) but any objective fan of good music will recognize the energy this album possesses. The version of Magheetah will leave you breathless. Guitars from outer space (yet sounding perfectly organic and home grown at times), reverb drenched vocals from Mr. James, and a rhythm section that's about as tight as any I have encountered, and a song list with absolutely no filler. Perfect song selection.
I have never been a fanatic for The Live Album” but between Okonokos and Wilco's Kicking Television I have been converted into a true believer. Like Neil Young jamming in a canyon on Mars.

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