Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

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Phenomenal Cat
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Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 09 Aug 2015, 19:01

Image

I usually have an angle when I write these – some sort of personal home-truth about why something appeals to me (even if I have to admit that it could be just soppy nostalgia). My Morning Jacket really doesn’t give me much to work with, and yet here I am trying to explain why I own five of their albums.

I first bought the album with the bear on the cover, kept it for a few months, and then sold it. On this particular album, MMJ would always start with some semblance of a tune for about two minutes , but then they’d jam on one chord for the next five. The guy sang in a gymnasium (yeah – you know that sound) and they probably thought they were Crazy Horse Mk. II. Really not my thing (though, ironically, Fleet Foxes is my thing).

But they took a left turn. If you start anywhere with these guys, check out Z. They went for that classic rock ideal of a complete album. And they started writing tunes.

The timing was also spot-on. The late 90s biggies (Radiohead, Wilco) were in commercial denial, and shit like Coldplay couldn’t pick up the slack. MMJ began to worship at the altar of Todd (and 10cc). There are some decided 70s sounds happening (lotta Fender Rhodes and quirky falsetto). Flaming Lips fooled us once with their 90125-era Yes-isms and faux-Bonham slams; Super Furry Animals got too cute and fatigue set in quick. MMJ just kept it modest, maybe a little too vanilla.

They can actually play, the singer can actually sing, and they didn’t model themselves on Springsteen or U2. If anything, IF ANYTHING, they just made solid pop records. That’s it – that’s what these guys are all about. An America or Bread for the new millennium.

I don’t have a clue what they’re singing about. It’s not important. Their last album (Circuital) contained songs reworked from a failed attempt to write songs for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (I shit you not). Sometimes they do some really stupid songs (“Highly Suspicious”), but I suppose everyone writes “The Crunge” once in their career. It’s not enough to create bad faith, but it does make you take them a little less seriously. Their new album (The Waterfall) does nothing for me (which explains why this here post is two months late).

My Morning Jacket are not outstanding – they’re more like audio comfort food. More children of the 70s, making music for children of the 70s. They ain’t so bad.

Now, I’m liberal, but to a degree
I want everybody to be free
But if you think that I’ll let Rick Santorum
Move in next door and marry my son
You must think I’m crazy!

But somehow when you smile, I can brave bad weather.

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Goat Boy
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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Goat Boy » 10 Aug 2015, 14:02

Roughly speaking you have two sets of MMJ fans. The ones who believe they were great up to and including Z but who have found everything since to be something of a disappointment and the fans – like yourself – who seem to prefer the latter stuff. I’m very firmly in the former camp. Put simply I think they had some real magic for a few years and that It Still Moves is absolutely their peak, a genuine modern classic, one clearly rooted in the 70s but which managed to stake its own claim to greatness.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby sloopjohnc » 10 Aug 2015, 14:19

I've always really liked them. I always looked at their albums as a progression of a band finding a sound and experimenting. They don't curry favors of the public - either you get on the bus or you don't. Jim James strikes me as a highly prolific guy who is constantly looking for musical and vocal expression much like Thom Yorke does, although a lot less annoying.

Okonokos is one of my favorite live albums of all time.

I don't know all their stuff by heart because I don't crush on any artists or bands anymore, but they're on a constant revolving door of my listening.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Goat Boy » 10 Aug 2015, 14:30

Okonokos is great. They are a brilliant live band, maybe the best one around actually. I spent some time briefly on the MMJ boards a few years ago (I ended up getting banned) and it’s clear that for a lot of fans it’s all about the live performances and the bootlegs. The albums are merely precursors for that. I think they’re pretty unusual in that respect these days.
Copehead wrote:I have never seen anything that doesn't convince me that Joe Average people who vote Conservative are fundamentally too thick to understand the world



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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Guy E » 10 Aug 2015, 15:18

These BCB 130 threads don't deserve thread-crapping, but I paid good money for one of their albums, so...

I bought Z based on the glowing reviews, tried to listen to it several times and strongly disliked it. To me, it was the epitome of Blender Rock, too many ingredients and too small a portion of the resulting MOR muck. The keyboards were particularly intrusive.

But I really liked the lead singer in the Dylan movie, I'm Not There... I suppose I could give them a second chance (but I doubt I will).
["Minnie the Stalker"]The first time that we met I knew I was going to make him mine.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 10 Aug 2015, 16:26

Guy E wrote:These BCB 130 threads don't deserve thread-crapping, but I paid good money for one of their albums, so...


I think I would been gushing a bit more had I started this thread a year ago, but with this new album I feel MMJ may have just jumped the shark. On Z, they worked with John Leckie, so it was calculated more towards gaining an audience. My reasons for liking the band have little to do with their chops and 'authenticity' and more with how I enjoy their experimentation on record (and songs, of course). So, I'm compelled to thread-crap my own thread.
Now, I’m liberal, but to a degree
I want everybody to be free
But if you think that I’ll let Rick Santorum
Move in next door and marry my son
You must think I’m crazy!

But somehow when you smile, I can brave bad weather.

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Phenomenal Cat
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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 10 Aug 2015, 17:16

I enjoyed the George Harrison tribute ep by Jim James

Now, I’m liberal, but to a degree
I want everybody to be free
But if you think that I’ll let Rick Santorum
Move in next door and marry my son
You must think I’m crazy!

But somehow when you smile, I can brave bad weather.

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slightbreeze
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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby slightbreeze » 11 Aug 2015, 10:05

I really like the band, from the debut, up to and including "The Waterfall". They've never really been a band who make me sit forward in my chair and go "Wow!", but each album contains moments of real quality.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Pansy Puff » 11 Aug 2015, 11:58

It Still Moves - that's a great album. There's a long track that's just fantastic on that... Rolling Back, I think. Gonna play it now.
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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Vic Snazell-Sprey » 02 Sep 2015, 13:46



I'm still sort of discovering them but this is fabulous......
Little Jim was no-one's fool - he owned the town's only jam butty mine.

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Re: Beyond the 130 - My Morning Jacket

Postby Rayge » 15 Jan 2018, 20:18

bump
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