Thursday, October 4, 2012

Artist of the Day: Bon Iver

Fame came easily to Justin Vernon. Thanks to a very likable sound and a down-to-earth musical style, Bon Iver ascended to the tops of modern day music charts like a rocket, simply because it was easy to connect to, stood out from anything else that was popular, and no one could fight the craze - it was, indeed, good music. The popularity might not be as frenzied or talked about anymore, but the 2011 self-titled still remains as a go-to album for any neo-hipsters of the day, and you can still hear "Holocene" if you jump around the radio.

Bon Iver didn't start out with a ridiculously large fanbase, though. In fact, when For Emma, Forever Ago was released in 2007, it gained popularity only from folks in the Wisconson area, until Jagjaguwar picked them up and re-released the album a year later, to which it was lauded with critical acclaim. And with good reason; For Emma was very lax in including extra effects, which the self-titled was less afraid to do. The debut by the folk-rock giants was very acoustic, very unrefined, and fantastically musical and homey. Following up the debut, Blood Bank laid in the same valley, carried on the same feel, but branched out a little more with jazz guitar and fuzz pedals, creating a warm, lovable tone. It's an EP that's incredibly easy to listen to and I would absolutely pick it up if you own the two full-lengths.

Then, you move onto their mainstream release: Bon Iver's Bon Iver, Bon Iver. I personally thought it was great, but not so much in the folksy Justin Vernon strain. He'd included things like auto-tune, synths, a cornucopia of instruments that fill the air, and just too much going on at the same time. Of course, there are things that are done fantastically well in the album, like "Perth" broadening the traditional sound of the band while staying in the same style, but songs like "Hinnom" were a little too much, laden down with too many effects. Some of the music on here just didn't flow as easily as Vernon's previous work, and that's the main reason some older fans would disagree on this album as a follow-up. However, with fan responses in mind, it'll be interesting to see what the band comes up with next.

Check out the band on their MySpace page, or look at their YouTube channel.

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