Friday, August 14, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 154 - My Morning Jacket - Chocolate and Ice EP

By: March

Album Chocolate and Ice (EP)
Artist - My Morning Jacket
Key Players - Johnny Quaid - guitars. Danny Cash - keyboards. Jim James - vocals and guitar. "Two Tone" Tommy - bass. KC Guetig - drums.
Produced By - ? - Mastered at Abbey Road Studios.

Release Date - March 22, 2002

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I have been meaning to do a My Morning Jacket cd for a few weeks now, and wasn't sure what was really 'forgotten'. I love the studio and live cds from this band, but hadn't listened to this ep in a while, so it was chosen.

- This is a six song ep, (the bands fourth ep) from Louisville, Kentucky band My Morning Jacket. Placed between the long players "At Dawn" and "It Still Moves" the band really shines on a 20+ minute track (Cobra) and showcases all their other talents.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The drums roll at the start of "Can You See The Hard Helmet On My Head?" before the band comes in on acoustic guitars. Jim James falsetto rings over the band and he harmonies are with himself and mixed into separate channels on yours speakers/headphones giving a "airy" feel. The band doesn't go off on this track, instead they keep a steady back beat as James soars over the track. "Sooner" starts very similar to the prior track. The percussion and James along with his guitar open the track. One thing My Morning Jacket is always "slagged off" for is the reverb on the vocals, but it sounds quite good at times, and add to a haunting feel. There are some slide guitar runs at the chorus and some of the more subtle percussion instruments are brought out. In the end its really a pretty simple track that fills out with bass and more guitar, but never really gets too over the top. Many folks have written this ep is more a vehicle for the track "Cobra" that follows. The track, clocking in a 24:12 is longer than all the other tracks combined. It opens with a little "canned' drum sound and the bass swoops over that with some short guitar lines. It falls in to a mechanical feel after the first 30 seconds and James whispers the lyrics at the first over the robotic feel. After a verse or two the band starts to lock in to a groove. There is no flashy lead solos and the band keeps steady time, but it does not build too quickly here. About the 7 minute mark it feels like a whole different song. The guitars get louder and its a loose jam trying to lock in a direction. There is a guitar solo buried in the mix and the other guitar plays the same run of notes. It gets a little deeper later (11 minutes in). The vocals come back in and the bass gets deeper, but given some melodic runs as the drum line remains the same. The guitars are gone at this point leaving it up to the bass and percussive instruments. We shift gears again about the 14 minute mark with long keyboard notes and little else. Then a short banjo section and even more phased out vocals. It remains this subtle through its conclusion. "It's Been A Great 3 Or 4 Years" is a series of voice mails to Jim James and I *think* they might be from Johnny Quaid but I am not 100% sure. The calls are about how he was taking some time off, but how great the band has been as of late etc. Its sort of dull honestly if you are not part of their loop. The shortest track "Holy" follows. James and acoustic guitar once more. It sounds very stripped down, and bare at the outset and then some canned string sections are brought in. James seems to be struggling a little with the vocals, and it sounds very rough when it is just him and the guitar. The ep closes out with "Sweetheart" a more full band track once more. Opening with piano and a slow rolling drum line. The reverb is back on the vocals but the band is not really cutting loose on the track.

Where are they now? - My Morning Jacket are still active as a recording and touring outfit. At this time the band are taking a much needed break. Jim James just released an ep of George Harrsion cover tunes and will be releasing a record (and touring ) later this year for "Monsters of Folk".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The first time I saw MMJ was in an opening slot for Pearl Jam (LINK) at the TD Banknorth Garden on May 24, 2006. Even in a short set I was sold. I had longed to see them and this was just a taste as I'd need to wait until September 6, 2008 to see them doing a full set. That night was great, but it was scary to get to Boston for show as there was terrible weather the whole day, but when they played the weather calmed down. It was well worth the wait. Quaid and Cash left the band amicably in 2004.

FDF Overall Take - My Morning Jacket in recent years has really been come to be known as a stellar live act, and it is very true. This ep is more for completest of their work. If you are new to the band some of the more recent cds will give you an idea. "It Still Moves" is the cd that sold me, and to hear their live prowess check out the live cd Okonokos. There is a live dvd of the same name if you feel like tracking that down. You can't go wrong with the bulk of MMJ's work. If you like some, you'll like most and Jim James has a voice that is easy to fall in love with.

Official site here and myspace page here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***The Mp3's have been removed***
Can you See the Hard Helmet on My Head

The tracks were taken from the ep which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 1:03 AM, Anonymous george said...

I love this EP. Great choice@!


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