Way late to the party: Bon Iver

March 26, 2008

If you’re like everybody else on the internet, you totally got into Bon Iver (pronounced bone-y ver, the ver rhyming with “were”) in late 2007 or whatever like you were supposed to. Well, I missed it all, and the dudes on All Songs Considered are basically saying (on a weekly basis) that I am a hack if I don’t love him,  so here I am desparately trying to make up for lost time.

‘They’ say he’s the new early-era Iron and Wine (if that makes any sense to you) and I don’t think I see it. The music is just as poignant, yes, but whereas Sam Beam is incredibly delicate and poetic, Justin Vernon (Mr. Bon Iver himself) is grating, direct, and just so damn sad. He ran away to a cabin for four months after his old band broke up and wrote pretty much the whole self-released album, For Emma, Forever Ago (8.1 on P4K!), and at certain points on the album you can just tell: just the way he mutters out the words “the agony” on “Blindsided” are enough to make you want to cancel the rest of your plans for the day.

But it’s not sad for the sake of being sad, which is good, and there’s enough variety here to make the whole thing a pretty compelling listen. And the guy’s no gimmick — after hearing a live clip of him performing “Skinny Love” on this week’s All Songs Considered I couldn’t help but marvel at the intense soulfullness of it all. His voice carries so much behind it that I found myself sort of forgetting where I was for a few minutes as I walked to class — and well, shit, in this era of pretty uninspired indie rock and acceptable techno/dance/rap (ugh) that’s a luxury I’ve gone without for quite some time.

Bon Iver – Skinny Love

Bon Iver – The Wolves (Act I and II)

Bon Iver – Blindsided

Bon Iver – Live at SXSW (from NPR’s All Songs Considered)


2 Responses to “Way late to the party: Bon Iver”

  1. Jamie Says:

    I rar’d this album yesturday and it’s pretty great… as well as the Someone still loves you Boris Yeltsin album. Nice call on both sir. Seriously check out the Dodo’s album: Visiter. I was put off by the bands name too, but the album is great.

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