Bon Iver Gets Their Freak On

boniverIn their first two albums, Bon Iver easily passed the first threshold of Rock relevance – they created a original sound all their own. It began with Justin Vernon’s distinctive and haunting falsetto-like vocals and his sometimes painfully personal lyrics, and it was hammered home by the atmospheric instrumentation, notable for its powerful use of orchestral and electronic flourishes.

This is not a good-time-Charlie kind of band. Justin Vernon seems to willingly wear the mantle of the classic tortured artist. His good friend was allowed to provide details of Vernon’s emotional dysfunction in an essay on his website, and it’s almost a little bit creepy.

In any case, I’ve got plenty of ambivalence about Bon Iver’s music. Depending on my mood and circumstance, it can be either moving and thought provoking, or dreary and sleep-inducing. Just to be safe, I won’t listen to it while driving at night.

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The good news is that Bon Iver is releasing their first album since 2011’s self-titled breakthrough, the one that earned them the 2012 Grammy for Best New Artist. The new album will be called 22, A Million, 22 apparently being a significant number in Vernon’s life. But the even better news is that Bon Iver appears to be reaching out for some new sonic horizons.

Check out this track called “10 dEAThbREasT” (the guy is obsessed with numbers and weird text symbols). It’s like Justin Vernon channeling his inner Kanye, which shouldn’t surprise since Kanye was one of his early fans, using his vocals on the album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. 

It’s really an amazing track, replete with processed vocals, bizarro horns and some startling electronic effects and beats. To me it’s a really great vehicle for Vernon’s dramatically obscure vocals, and the overall effect is hypnotizing, in a good way. This one won’t help anyone get to sleep.

A second preview track, incoherently titled “22 (OVER S∞∞N)”, has a much more familiar Bon Iver feel, but it’s got a really sweet saxophone part, which, correct me if I’m wrong, is also new to Bon Iver’s sound.

22, A Million will be released on September 30 via Jagjaguwar, and I am definitely curious about what the rest of the album sounds like.

Photo credit: By danieljordahl from Östersund, Sweden (Bon Iver) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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One comment to “Bon Iver Gets Their Freak On”
  1. Wow. I definitely didn’t imagine their new stuff would sound like this… Pretty amazing! I’m in awe of these guys.

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