MTH-V: Bon Iver

Once again, my originally-intended video has been postponed due to recent events/distractions. This past Saturday night, while headed back home with my friend and partner Matt Borghi after a successful Teag and PK gig in Plymouth, I professed at length my love for Bon Iver. All Matt had to say was, “I think I heard them on NPR but can’t remember,” and I was off, talking a mile a minute.

Some context for any Bon Iver novices out there: Bon Iver is the overall project and brainchild of singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, who is one hell of a songwriter. The recently-released sophomore album (Bon Iver) is an enormous departure from the first (For Emma, Forever Ago). As I told Matt the other night, Bon Iver is a full-on sonic experience, and I feel like the two below videos display nicely some of the various aspects. Overall, the sound is very lush. While not always “big,” the sound is very thick, and he accomplishes this nicely by having 1) a large touring band (by rock/pop standards), 2) by having the entire band double (or triple!) on various instruments/voices, and 3) consistently using vocal harmonies. Even though the ensemble functions as a rock band, it acts as a pit orchestra. It’s a very solid band (including saxophonist Colin Stetson, I was pleased to learn), and I can’t praise him enough for taking such a large band on the road. Seriously. That’s a commitment you don’t often see below the very highest-grossing levels of pop music. My wife bought us tickets to see them in Chicago in December, and we’re both very excited to experience the group live.

I wanted to dedicate a New Listen to Bon Iver, but didn’t have the time while in Austria and it’s no longer “new” (for me). However I would like to do something along those lines by the end of the year, as it’s arguably my favorite album of any genre or era I’ve acquired so far this calendar year. (In my top 3, without question.) Until then, below are a couple videos for y’all to enjoy, whether or not you’re familiar with the music. Both of these performances come from Bon Iver’s appearance on BBC’s Later…with Jools Holland, and both songs are from Bon Iver.

“Calgary” (*One of my favorites*)

“Towers”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81wOQrhHhC8

Update: Matt informed me on Monday that he had already gotten hold of For Emma… and is hooked. 🙂

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