Tuesday, September 26, 2006

One of Those Posts with Lots of Links

This Pitchfork review of My Morning Jacket's brilliant double live-album, Okonokos, is extremely lacking. There's some interesting flourishes here and there, but the scope and grandeur of the album is not protrayed through the review and the writer seems to think MMJ is just another band with just another album. They could not be more wrong. This is an instant classic album - a rarity in the overly crowded market of the day - and an affirmation of sucess from a band that has transcended all genre and classifcation lines, beyond indie rock, beyond alt-country, and into mainstream consciosuness.

Maybe I'm a little biased. I saw MMJ at Lallapoolza recently and it was a truly transformative moment. I reconnected with some dormat ROCK portion of myself and, through the band, found a new apprecation of all music. This is an almost magical feat and they pulled it off effortlessly, in about an hour's time. Ever since that show, I have been listening to Okonokos almost non-stop and in its chords and lulls and highs, that same magical spark is reignited again and again.

And the magic will not stop! A film is coming out of the performance, from the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco (where I saw an equally transcendent performances by Mogwai back in the day). That film should be an incredible blast of a perfomance, apparently it's edited and directed very well. I can't wait!!

But, that's not out for another month. (*takes a breathe, relaxes). For the moment, I'm focusing on the album. It's coming out this week and a lot of other reviewers 'round the web have captured the spirit of the album a lot better than pitchfork. Some links and excerpts:

From their hometown paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal:

"Okonokos" is a true concert experience, its many transcendent moments sharing space with happily wrecked solos and the occasional splintered high note from singer Jim James. This is not a complaint. This is what live music is all about: a shared, human experience, imperfections and all. We're living in the moment here.

From Miami New Times: (huh? okay!)

The best live albums bring something new to songs that have been heard only in a studio incarnation, new performances that transcend the recorded versions and connect with striking immediacy. By that standard, Okonokos, My Morning Jacket's first concert set, is a stunning success.

From PopMatters:

Okonokos‘s structure is perfect for a live album—when the songs trip off into another world, they soon rock brightly back to life, often within the same song. The songs are stretched out, but without losing any of their impact. In fact, the impact of every hook, note, and solo is only accentuated. The band hammers each note exactly right, with absolute toughness but also sensitivity, so it isn’t bombastic but still kicks hard. James’ voice soars but also turns ragged, as the music flies light but also punches the audience in the face. An extra dose of intensity is added to songs, to keep the feeling of surprise, and those intense moments the audience is expecting—like on “One Big Holiday”, their most overtly rocking song—are delivered even better than promised.

From Barnes & Noble.com: (see what I mean by mainstream sucess?)

Even before their breakthrough, It Still Moves [and best album - elad] My Morning Jacket had built a buzz as a great live act: With their long hair swinging in circles, their penchant for dramatic shifts in dynamics, and their indulgence in epic guitar solos, the Louisville, Kentucky, band created an impressive spectacle.

Now, I can't say that My Morning Jacket will appeal to everyone. They have a sort of homespun rock sound that touches on Southern twang, indie exuberance, and even more traditional pop structures to their shorter songs, but there's something, definitely something, that makes this band appeal to more than just one target audience. They have a truly American sound bringing to mind long drives through empty highways or endless landscapes of mountains, valleys, or stripmalls all crowned by the same lazy clouds. That indescribable Americanness is part of what inspires and excites me about them. But at the end of the day, they're just a rock band. Maybe the last great rock band. Or maybe just the best.

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