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Friday, June 10, 2011

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

I still plan on doing a post about music from my trip, but I wanted to write this one first.

Bon Iver is releasing their second full length album on June 21. I've been anticipating this one ever since I became aware of their (his?) first album, which is easily one of my five favorite albums ever. Just the other day it was made available to stream in its entirety. I've only listened to it once so far (due to our internet being out at home for over 24 hours), but I can tell you that I think I'm going to love it. I've been worried about what this album may sound like. Not because I don't think Justin Vernon has it in him to make another absolutely beautiful album like his first, but just because the bar was set so high. A Bon Iver EP came out in 2009 which was good, but not great. Since the release of "For Emma, Forever Ago" in 2008, Justin Vernon has done anything but rest on the success of the album. He has collaborated with just about everyone it seems, sometimes in major roles (like on the Anais Mitchell album or in his collaborations with Volcano Choir and Gayngs) or sometimes just offering up that heavenly falsetto voice to vocals for a track or two like on Kanye West's "Lost In the World" (which samples "Woods" from Bon Iver's Blood Bank EP and may actually improve the original).

With all that said, it was unclear where this new album would take Bon Iver. I'm not really ready to say too much about it yet, but it is definitely not a flop by any stretch of the imagination. Give it a listen and decide for yourself how you feel.

I'm weird about music in a lot of ways. I love making lists, thinking about favorites, and doing all of this stuff that is completely unnecessary. In the past, when I've thought about who my favorite artists are, Bon Iver has been up there, but I was always wary to actually add them to the list (in my head) since they had only released one full length album. Justin Vernon did perform in what may be my favorite concert I've ever attended when he sang with his old high school's jazz band in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to raise money for their trip to a music competition, but I have always had it in my head that an artist can't really be a true favorite of mine until I've seen they can replicate my love for their music with a second (or third, fourth, etc.) record. The Tallest Man On Earth and Frightened Rabbit were two artists that I felt the same about until they released my two favorite albums of 2010 after really strong albums before that. Between everything Justin Vernon has done and the release of this new record, I'll feel pretty confident in the future adding him to that list (which I may address on this blog at some point).

Anyhow, here's a widget (such a great word) to stream the new album:

Also, here is a link from Pitchfork to download the track "Calgary". Get it. You won't regret it!


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