My Morning Jacket: It Still Moves

Posted May 21, 2016 by in Rock



4.5/ 5


Release Date:
Number Of Discs:
Retail Price:
Genre: Rock, alt-rock, psychedelic rock
Producer: Jim James
Label: ATO
Original Release Year: 2011
Release Date: 27 May 2016
Spin This: "One Big Holiday," "Mahgeetah," "En La Ceremony," "Grab a Body"


Beautifully remastered, restored and remixed. New previously unreleased tracks are pleasantly good. Would've been quite ambitious for them if released


Demos aren't exactly attractive to the average ear, but for devout fans this is a perfect glimpse at the imtimate, creative process

New and improved: MMJ’s breakthrough record gets huge update on one big anniversary

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

New and improved: MMJ’s breakthrough record gets huge update on one big anniversary

mymorningjacket-03With origins dating back to the start of the new century, My Morning Jacket has managed to rise to the top tier of the rock food chain. 2005’s Z, the group’s mountaintop album, and subsequent releases like Evil Urges and Circuital, have all contributed to the legend of My Morning Jacket and their fearless godlike leader, Jim James. But every hot rock band has that moment of eureka, where they experience that epiphany in knowing who they are and what road to exactly travel. Their third album, It Still Moves, was that pivotal moment.

Thanks to the arrival of It Still Moves, the Louisville, Kentucky band – steeped in a brew of rural Americana folk, garage-sounding reverb and flirtations with psychedelic rock – pushed themselves forward by incorporating dramatic southern rock-infused arrangements and longer tracks stretched with explosive guitar solos. “One Big Holiday,” the album’s apex, is the band’s first unofficial hit. Although rock radio didn’t pick up on it on its first run and failed to chart, it became a fan favorite at concerts and music fests, even making its way into television (House), film (The Lookout) and even video games (Guitar Hero 5). Today it ranks up there with “I’m Amazed” as the band’s signature song and is the headlining title for their now-annual music festival held in Mexico. The disc also featured a host of other goodies, including the deliciously vibrant opener “Mahgeetah” and the Southern rock-spliced “Dancefloors.” There’s also the fair introduction into the otherworldly mystical detours that the band is now legend for. “I Will Sing You Songs” is completely transcendent and euphoric, all thanks to its calming tempo, soft drum brush accents and Jim James’s ethereal vocal performance. “Steam Engine” wears a similar guise, but finds itself exploring a bombastic rock glow. Acquiring more metaphysical and New Thought theology, this track finds James penning bold literature that’s universally spiritual (“So I do believe none of this is physical, least not to me”). It even supplies inspiration for Shaky Knees Music Festival, Atlanta’s new hip music festival, which MMJ headlined this year (“Your skin looks good in moonlight/And goddamn those shaky knees”).

It Still Moves was not their commercial breakthrough album, especially in the grand sense of things. James scoffs at how the band was rushed to put out an album at the time, due to their rigorous touring schedule and growing popularity. But the disc, now celebrating its fifteen-year anniversary this year, remains a glorious moment for the band.


A 2016 reissue, sparking with a complete remix handled by Kevin Ratterman (Circuital) and remastered by Bob Ludwig, comes with a trove of previously unreleased demos, B-sides and vault material. The older material sounds more improved. Compare the originally, loud “Mahgeetah” with the new and improved one, and you’ll easily discern the difference in sound quality and post-production texture. Plus, the extra goodies are enough to fill up a second compact disc (the 2016 vinyl version comes with four LPs). In these exclusive offerings, we hear My Morning Jacket adding extra layers of mystery to their grandeur. On “En La Ceremony,” they play with a type of exquisite Latin jazz that conjures “Rikki Don’t Lost That Number” in chill mode. My Morning Jacket does jazz? You’ll finds it right here. “Grab a Body,” mostly instrumental, deposits soaring horns and Isaac Hayes-like Memphis funk into something more personal – it’s no secret James admires the symphonic soul of Isaac Hayes. The two-minute “That’s Too Bad” finds the band entertaining a classic rock radio-ready pattern. It’s not their strongest suit especially in this case, where the melodic guitar riffs and repetitive chords seem more memorable than the execution of the verses and James’s belting. A little extra tweaking and it could’ve risen to the rank of Bruce Springsteen “Hungry Heart” status.

The gathered demos – ten tracks taken from primitive origins of the album’s twelve tracks – offer valuable insight on James and the band’s creative process, exposing bare-to-the-bone acoustic renderings of the songs. Some of these premature tracks, all in demo form, are a bit eerie, druggy, even ghostly (“I Will Sing You Songs”), but that’s no surprise when entering a My Morning Jacket vortex.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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