James Edward Olliges Jr. a.k.a. JIM JAMES is better known as the frontman of alt-country/semi-jam/indie-rock/funk/electroclash/furry-boots/extravaganza band MY MORNING JACKET, commonly referred to as MMJ. With MMJ Jim has released 6 studio albums, starting in 1999 with "THE TENNESSEE FIRE", which Jim famously recorded in a grain silo in his hometown of LOUISVILLE KENTUCKY. This release had a very recognizable alt-country sound and was low on the production, but regardless, it's legendary. This is footage from a bizarre documentary of a Holland tour the band went in after THE TENNESSEE FIRE:
"AT DAWN" (2001) is the second release by MY MORNING JACKET, following a similar lo-fi alt-country sound to their previous record, but with a more cohesive "band" sound and a little more experimentation going on. Tis' the first Jacket record that incorporates a keyboardist.
"IT STILL MOVES" (2003) could be called the breakthrough album for MMJ in many regards. It's bright, loud, clean, and arguably the biggest rocker MMJ has ever put out. It includes their biggest hit to date, "ONE BIG HOLIDAY". Cue a performance our good friends at Bonnaroo released from the early years of the festival and band.
If "IT STILL MOVES" brought MMJ to the ears of your regular folk, "Z" (2005) is responsible for redeeming the band in the eyes of critics' as an entity with a mind of its own. Despite being one of the shortest albums MMJ has put out, the oddly titled "Z" saw the band expand their sound into plain psychedelia/art-rock and up their production. A live album called "OKONOKOS" followed the release, showcasing the "mindblowing" and "life-defining" live performances the band is capable of.
"EVIL URGES" was the next release by MMJ, which saw the light in 2008. It's commonly regarded as the weakest release the band's ever put out, but even the weakest release for MMJ would be an ok record for most other bands. "EVIL URGES" is everywhere and nowhere, it jumps from place to place for no reason (glam-filled "peanut butter surprises" to melancholic "thank you too's"), and overall it feels like a scattered piece of work, all the contrary to their previous "Z" effort. Disperse and unfocused as it is, "EVIL URGES" contains some of the best songs the band has, such as "SMOKIN' FROM SHOOTIN'" and "TOUCH ME I'M GOING TO SCREAM PT. 2".
Extra credit: During the tour for this album, Jim James suffered an accident onstage that had him in solitary confinement (well, he broke his leg) for a few weeks. We'll get to why this is important later, for now you should know that Jim's described the accident as "forthcoming" and a "reflection of dark times he was having".
The most recent album by MMJ is "CIRCUITAL", released in 2011. It's really intense, refreshing and ambitious. The band said they wanted to bring the "hugeness" of their live sound to tape, and they accomplished it. This album sounds HUGE, and for the most it feels more relaxed than their previous record "EVIL URGES". This album saw the band achieving HEADLINER status in festivals, such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and ACL.
MMJ is one of Roo's most beloved bands, as they've played there a bunch of times, giving out LEGENDARY performances in the rain at midnight for hours or something. The last time they were there was in 2011 to promote "CIRCUITAL", and they performed as pre-headliners, opening for THE ARCADE FIRE.
THE MONSTERS OF FOLK
JIM's also a member of supergroup THE MONSTERS OF FOLK along with M. WARD, CONOR OBERST and MIKE MOGIS FROM BRIGHT EYES. They've been together for a while, playing random live shows and making appearances on each's personal projects. In 2009 they released their debut album which contains all original songs performed by all members. It's pretty cool.
Even though he'd released a tribute album to some Beatle a few years ago, 2013 was the year Jim James came out as a solo performer, releasing his debut album "REGIONS OF LIGHT AND SOUND OF GOD". It's a collection of songs Jim decided to release outside of MMJ as he saw them distanced from the idea and the sound of the band. "ROLASOG" was recorded in its entirety by Jim James, and it follows a weirder sound with a big range of influences, from the regular psych-rock MMJ's known for, to soul and gospel and all kinds of shiz. The inspiration for the record came from James' accident in the "EVIL URGES" tour, after which he felt "lost" and "in need of spirituality" or something. He found solace in a graphic novel by Lynd Ward called "God's Man" which follows the story of a painter that meets fame and quickly falls out of it. It's made entirely out of woodcuts and it's pretty cool. Seriously guys, read it, it takes you like 15 minutes.
For the tour of "ROLASOF", Jim gathered a number of friends to tour with, and in their shows they're playing the full solo album as well as a few MMJ/MoF tunes for the encore. This is what we'll be seeing at THE ROO.