I’m not quite sure what to say about this one. For starters, I, uh, I love Justin Vernon. Big fucking surprise there, who doesn’t. Nothing better than a scraggle-haired hipster on a nylon string-thing that can actually make you feel something. I’ve been a huge fan of his Blood Bank EP on rainy days or in the arms of someone special, of “The Wolves” off of For Emma, Forever Ago while enjoying a smoke in the dog park with my best friends, and of his contribution to Dark Was the Night in “Brackett, WI” as I raced through a very crowded Grand Central on the way to track 42, night after night. In any setting, when you’re in any mood, and no matter where you are – Vernon is a beacon of chill. Nothing stands in his way. With his softest harmonies and sweetest words (Only love is all maroon, lapping lakes like leary loons, leaving rope burns - reddish ruse), Vernon via Bon Iver might be just what you want to hear, always. In the simplest of terms – his sound makes you happy, calm. Happycalm. Need I say more?
To be perfectly honest, Bon Iver’s new self-title leaves me feeling clever and sleepy, for lack of better adjectives. Holocene is my current favorite – I love how Vernon has grown in this album, and this track shows it best in my opinion. The static-like marching drums in combination with a sultry piano and wood instrument is beautiful – the perfect addition to an already uniquely soothing sound off this record. Michicant is another favorite, hypnotizing but somehow shocking, revealing a much more ambitious side to Vernon that works quite well.
Brace yourself for much less acoustic and romantic Vernon. It might be a lot to let go of for some of the die hard fans (many of which I’ve encountered), but I think it’s incredible to see an artist like Vernon consecutively produce great albums that show great progression and risk in the creative process, from album to album. Reminds me a lot of the way Beck and Radiohead have grown. We’ll see.