My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves / Acoustic Citsuoca

My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves / Acoustic Citsuoca

Unfortunately, I feel like we’re kind of behind the ball on this one, and I guess in a way we are, because My Morning Jacket has blown up a bit since we got these discs. These days, you can pick up any issue of whatever “alternative” rock mag you prefer and see at least one MMJ mention. The band is playing Coachella this year, as well as opening up for Pearl Jam on the first leg of that band’s tour. Of course, with all that forward-motion in the industry, you have your usual cries of “sellout” or “I liked them better when they sounded more like (insert obscure hipster reference here).” Do I feel that way? Eh…not so much. But honestly, I’m not here to review the newest stuff, so here’s a bit of a look backwards.

It Still Moves would probably be MMJ’s “breakout” album — the cuts on it definitely provided the momentum for the big push that the band is experiencing at the moment. I’ve heard “Mahgeetah,” “Golden,” and “One Big Holiday” on the radio, in bars, in stores in the mall, etc. — all as recently as the last couple of weeks. What really surprises me is that something that gets that much market saturation is actually something that I like. A lot. The tracks on It Still Moves retain the classic MMJ sound: slightly twangy songs, drenched in reverb, with a hint of old-school soul and R&B bubbling just underneath the surface to make you shake that ass. Some of the songs are full-on rockers (the aforementioned radio-play ones are good examples of that), and some are mellow, airy jams (“I Will Sing You Songs,” “Steam Engine”). If you’re a fan of the Old 97s, Wilco — hell, even the New Amsterdams — I think you’d dig the hell out of this album.

Acoustic Citsuoca was probably intended to fill the gap between My Morning Jacket LPs (like every other major label EP release), but I must say that I really like the conceit behind the EP itself. Acoustic Citsuoca was recorded at a small Halloween Night 2004 performance in Massachussetts, ostensibly for a close friend of the band and a few hundred of his closest friends. Makes me feel all warm and autumn-ish inside (although as I’ve lived in Houston for most of my life, I confess to not really knowing what that season feels like). It feels as if the band were playing a small show in Haddonfield, Illinois…just before that Myers boy came home and heads began to roll. But I digress. As you can probably guess from the title, all of the songs are played “unplugged,” but they still retain a certain turbulent energy that makes the entire EP thoroughly enjoyable. “Golden” translates extremely well — the best of the bunch, I think — becoming almost sublime here in its stripped-down form. My only complaint is that there are only five tracks on the EP. Maybe with their new-found fame My Morning Jacket will be invited onto Unplugged, and we’ll get a full album out of it. If Acoustic Citsuoca is any indication, it would be pretty damned good.

So, even if you’re not a fan of the Jacket’s recent more soul-leaning material, you should check out It Still Moves and Acoustic Citsuoca. Sure, you may end up just liking their “older stuff,” but who knows? You might find yourself with more context for the new material, too. Either way, it’s a win for the listener.

(ATO Records -- 44 Wall St., 22nd Fl., New York, NY. 10005; http://www.atorecords.com/; RCA Records -- 1540 Broadway, New York, NY. 10036; http://www.rcarecords.com/; My Morning Jacket -- http://www.mymorningjacket.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, June 6th, 2006. Filed under Reviews.

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