My Morning Jacket
The band I'm in was fortunate to open for My Morning Jacket last year and like a true music geek I think I was just about as excited to see My Morning Jacket as to play our own music. I remember that one of the main things on my mind before I saw the group was whether or not lead singer Jim James' vocals would sound as good in person as they do on the heavily-reverbed recordings that I owned by them, and surprisingly he hit just about every single note and even seemed to soar higher in certain places than on the recorded media. For most of the show I couldn't even see his face through his seriously shaggy hair, but I was amazed by his voice and could tell that just about everyone else in the joint was as well.
While there are plenty of shows floating around on the internet that the group has played (many of which are recorded nearly as well and are longer in duration), the major thing that this release has going for it is that it's done in a semi-acoustic nature, lending even more power to the vocals of James (which admittingly sometimes got a little bit overpowered in a full-on live environment when the group went into rawk-band mode). While it usually isn't just James with an acoustic guitar (most tracks feature a full band, although modestly stripped-down), the 5 tracks on this release are a bit more quiet and understated than the southern-fried jams you often get with the group live.
In the end, this is 5 tracks and just over 25 minutes of music for a super-cheap price. It's not a very good starting point for those who are just getting into the group (as the live experience is often a somewhat acquired taste), but for a casual and especially hardcore fan it's a great little disc that's well worth the money. My personal favorite on the release is also my favorite song off their most recent album It Still Moves, as "Golden" is given the most simple arrangement on the disc, with just acoustic guitar and James. While the original is also one of the quieter tracks on its respective release, the quieter performance of the track lends even more to the lonely lyrics. At just over a buck a track, it's a nicely-priced EP of great tracks from a group that seems like they're on the cusp of something much bigger.