I haven't been particularly on top of newness this summer - not only do I have musical ADD to begin with, but the Summer of Guest DJs tends to send me off on tangents. I'll check out something particularly great that a guest DJ played, or something that a friend recommended, and then I'll wander off down side streets and tributaries until I have absolutely no idea what's been released in the past three months.
But I'm only a week behind the release of the Yim Yames EP Tribute To, which is carrying on what seems to be a 2009 trend of tribute albums (Phosphorescent's To Willie is one of my favorite releases this year, and I just stumbled upon an Aquarium Drunkard-curated tribute to Paul McCartney's Ram, which I'm not letting myself listen to until I post this, but which I'm super thrilled to find since I only heard Ram in its entirety after Jon Rogers guest DJed on OtO earlier this summer).
Yim Yames is, if you haven't heard, the solo moniker of Mr. Jim James of My Morning Jacket. And his George Harrison tribute, which contains four tracks taken from the 1970 masterpiece All Things Must Pass in addition to two Beatles-released Harrison songs, is nothing short of beautiful. A friend recently wrote that Tribute To sounds exactly like what you think it would sound like - and that's true, it holds no surprises for anyone familiar with Jim James' vocals or early MMJ material. But that's okay in cases like this, where unsurprising means exquisite. James' almost delicate interpretations of songs like "Long Long Long" and "Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)" re-infuse the melodies with the haunting beauty inherent in the singer's otherworldly voice, and while the covers will never surpass the classic versions, Tribute To will certainly have you digging out your copy of All Things Must Pass. And sometimes that's the greatest possible effect a tribute album can have.
Yim Yames - "My Sweet Lord"
And a completely unrelated tune from All Things Must Pass, because I'm inevitably going to head off on that tangent now.
George Harrison - "What Is Life"