My Morning Jacket
Think about all the indie rock guys who affect Neil Young-inspired vocals. My Morning Jacket leader Jim James doesn't affect anything. He may sing somewhat like Neil Young, but he also kind of talks like Neil Young. My Morning Jacket are the real deal. They're from Louisville, Kentucky. So rather than being indie rockers approaching a Southern thing, they're Southern boys approaching an indie thing, which is not only totally endearing but completely authentic. Their music seems to effortlessly traverse uncharted territory, from twangy rock to dream pop, touched with a little reggae and even some disco influences. And they sure do like the reverb. They cast out lines of atmosphere; in fact, My Morning Jacket's songs breathe worlds of atmosphere. The band was formed with ample help from James' cousin Johnny Quaid, a guitar player who seems to have grown up on 'ludes and Slowdive records. Rounded out with a versatile rhythm section comprised of Two-Tone Tommy and J. Glenn on bass and drums, the band's original lineup was a powerful quartet. Their first album, The Tennessee Fire, came out on Darla Records in 1999, but it was 2001's At Dawn that propelled them into indie darlingdom. Eerie melodies weave in and out of At Dawn as guitars and drums crash down like sonic avalanches, only to rise like a harmonious phoenix by album's end. Cash and Quaid left the band when It Still Moves, their first major label album, was released. Carl Broemel took over guitar duties and Bo Koster was added as the band's keyboard player, just in time to record 2005's Z with John Leckie, who produced (among many things) the first Stone Roses album.