Among the most highly touted new artists of the last decade, Bon Iver returns with a hotly anticipated follow up to 2007s For Emma, Forever Ago for what is sure to be an incredible show at The RIverside.
From Rolling Stone:
Justin Vernon's life could be the most implausible reality-TV show ever. Five years ago, he split from his beardy prog-folk band, DeYarmond Edison, and moved to a hunting cabin in Wisconsin, where he recorded a spare, falsetto-filled LP under the moniker Bon Iver. For Emma, Forever Ago was a beautiful record, and it quickly earned Vernon his own cult. Then Kanye West called. Vernon worked extensively with him on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, singing and co-writing. Just last month, a piano prodigy named Jasmine Van den Bogaerde (stage name: Birdy) had a Top 20 U.K. hit with Vernon's "Skinny Love." The American Idol guest-spot invite should be arriving any day now.
Vernon's latest, Bon Iver, was not made in a hunting cabin (for the record, it was cut in a converted swimming pool attached to a veterinarian's office). More electrified and elaborately arranged — more everything, really — than For Emma, but with the same woolly ambiance, it shows a deeply creative guy in a new, spotlighted context. For a self-titled LP, it sounds more like an exploration than a statement of purpose. But it's the searchingness that makes it potent.
Bon Iver isn't quite a crossover move. Big-pop synths appear, but more in the way a radio hit sounds leaking out of your lover's earbuds. The songs are often named for remote towns, real and imagined, where hearts are bared in unlikely juxtapositions. "Hinnom, TX" sets off horns and static bursts like distant fireworks; "Minnesota, WI" blends what sounds like banjos and acoustic guitars with a gnarly bass swell and hushed R&B horns, with Vernon singing "Imma lay that call back on ya" like he's covering a TV on the Radio number at a late-night bluegrass jam.