Archive for Justin Vernon

Grammys: Excited or Disappointed?

Posted in Music News, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Sunday, January 15, 2012 by Eric Gilardi

With this year’s Grammy Awards coming up in less than a month I am unsure if indie rock and electronic music fans should be excited or disappointed in the recent popularity gains in the past few years. Just last year Arcade Fire won Album of the Year for The Suburbs. This was one of the first signs that other forms of music were gaining a mass popularity.

Now this year, you have Skrillex breaking through with the music genre and in your face sound of dubstep. The electronic artist is up for 5 Grammy’s this year, an unprecedented number for any artist in the electronic music industry. Bon Iver  the popular indie rock group fronted by Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s own Justin Vernon is up for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist to name a few. The Grammy community must think that he is a new artist because they just discovered his music or his music has gained enough popularity that we will now acknowledge you. Bon Iver’s music has been making sweet love to my ears since 2008 so it really isn’t new to me or anyone else who has had their ears violated by Bon Iver’s music. The song “Holocene” is one of my favorites from 2011 so I can see why it has elevated them to Grammy status.

What are the contributing factors to why these artists are gaining popularity? In my opinion, technology happened. As many people leave their normal avenues to discover new music this trend is going to continue. The addition of Sirius XM into many people’s homes, workplaces and automobiles has helped spread new musical knowledge. Also, music sites such as Pandora, Last.fm, Spotify and Rdio(just to name a few) have also helped in the discovery of these artists and bands. The only thing I can see good out of all this is that I might actually tune in on February 12. Will you be watching?

Album Review: Bon Iver – “Blood Bank EP”

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , , , on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 by Erik Burg

blood-bak-coverBon Iver’s Sophmore effort, following the magnificent 2008 release “For Emma, Forever Ago” changes pace in certain spots, trading the beautiful vocals for Weezy-esque auto tuning. I know, a big step (forward or back?) for a guy who was so unbelievably harmonic and damn near perfect on his first album. As far as the auto tuning goes, and if those tracks are successful or not, it’s sort of a wash. The scratchy guitar and minimal backup instruments still amaze, despite being slightly repetitive of the first album, but the vocals bring down what would otherwise be an amazing EP. “Woods” and “Babys,” the two tracks the Justin Vernon goes lil wayne on your ass, are the low point of the album, like I mentioned, but the other two tracks, “Blood Bank” and “Beach Baby” pick up exactly where Emma left off. The title and lead track “Blood Bank” is arguably Vernon’s best track to date, drifting along with beautiful vocals, heart-wrenching lyrics, and the usual acoustic minimalism. “Beach Baby” sounds like something from an old Pet Sounds cut, and while it obviously isn’t, it again changes pace a little from the usual back-woods Wisconsin folk. Dropping the vocals and picking up the pace of the song a little bit, Bon Iver takes a short little trip down instrumental lane, if only for two and a half minutes. 

Not much else to this review, seeing as it’s just an EP. It’s definitely worth checking out though, for fans of his past material or for someone who’s never heard the greatest thing to come out of Eau Claire county since ever (maybe). If nothing else, at least give “Blood Bank” a spin, it’ll give any new fan the best idea of what Vernon is all about, and what made “For Emma, Forever Ago” one of the best albums of last year. 

6 abandoned wintry woods out of 10

mp3: Bon Iver – “Blood Bank” from the Blood Bank EP. Out 1/20 on Jagjaguwar records.

Dig Deeper: Bon Iver’s Myspace, Official Site, Wiki