Nice Winter! // Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Five dollar casio.

The new Bon Iver album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver“, is fantabulous and worthy member of my “best of the year so far” top 5.

I think there are a number of reasons I feel this way.

The man

No matter what I see or hear Justin Vernon do he comes across as the smartest, loveliest fellow in the world. Can he be my older brother please?

It’s like a giant metaphor for high school– people think or say certain things, and those ideas get amplified via telephone and, all of a sudden, somebody’s a dick or a racist. I just want to know that, no matter what the perception of me as a person is, I can live with who I actually am. But I find it funny that the stories are wrong. It goes to show that even the indie rock world– which is supposed to be about truth and independence from corporate mindfulness or something– is totally subject to the paraphernalia of celebrity. [Pitchfork: Interviews: Bon Iver]

“I think in that way I was emboldened by seeing how Bryce and Aaron [Dessner, of the National] work in their life,” he says, “and also how Kanye worked: ‘I want that – get that. I want an 80-piece orchestra – get it.’ And I guess I just was like: ‘Oh, I can see now! I know my two favourite saxophone players in the whole world, so why don’t I get them in the same room?’” [Bon Iver: 'I'm really confused right now' - guardian.co.uk]

Equally at ease on video in the last few weeks he’s been on the late night talk show circuit, talking as well as performing. A sign for anyone thinking he’s not on the verge of being a mainstream superstar is a fool. Here he is a few weeks ago chatting to Jimmy Fallon….

“Bon Iver, Bon Iver. So nice you said it twice.”

…and here is a sit-down from last night’s Colbert Report. Stephen is obviously a pretty big fan but doing his best to keep it in character as always.

“What is Bon short for, Bonathon?”

The artwork

How often do you see a cover that is worthy of making you want to buy the vinyl just so as you can hang it on your wall? This seems like one such piece of work. I will be buying it in Sonic Boom before they move into the east wing of Honest Ed’s. Click below to take a closer look…

Bon Iver, Bon Iver - out June 21st

The album artwork was done by Gregory Euclide and features “geranium leaves from the garden, soaked in snow water and pigment – then pressed into the paper“, very nice.

The songs

But I guess it doesn’t matter if a record has the nicest artwork in the world and is sung by Carol Smiley and Dermot O’Leary if the songs suck. And thankfully these do not suck.

I’m obviously not nearly as skilled a writer as most people who’ve been commissioned to review the album. They’ve found wonderfully inventive, pretentious and pretty ways of describing the record. Click the image below to read some lovely words about the album.

Bon Iver, Bon Iver is currently averaging 84% on review aggregator metacritic.com

To form your own opinion, buy the album or listen to the stream which is embedded at the top of this post. There’s a few videos tacked on to the bottom too…

The piano

Seriously as a keyboard player how can I not put this in here? The piano that starts off album-closer Beth/Rest one of the ballsiest ways to finish off an album I’ve ever heard. It’s laughable, provocative, weird, dated and cheesy. But over time it begins to make more and more sense as a closer to what went before it. Plus it’s the song that’s managed to everyone talking…

dry-ice power ballad“/”plodding tangle of electric keyboards and guitar solos“/ “Sounding like it was recorded using a five-dollar Casio” / “unironic embrace of 80s adult contemporary pop” / “mannered, irony-straddling cheesiness” / “horrible closer” / “an honest-to-goodness ‘80s ballad that sounds like it could’ve been sung by Cyndi Lauper

Brilliant stuff.

The Korg M1 - the magic behind Beth/Rest...

He said on Fallon that he had the same vintage Korg M1 model of synth which is pretty cool. But equally worthy of ridicule if you wanted to pick holes. But I don’t care what anyone says as it works goddamit. And that lovely G – C – C – Em – C piano chord intro could be played by a monkey, check out the tabs if you feel like learning it, though don’t even pretend you’ll have half as much soul as Justin.

The distinct lack of Kanye

So if your vocal acrobatics were one of the highlights of one of 2010′s best albums, Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, how tempted would you be to get him to return the favour and guest on your next record? But I’m kinda glad he didn’t, would have seemed like the easy way to try and sell half a million records whereas it looks like this album is going to do that all by itself.

Kanye and Justin Vernon on stage earlier this year...

It’s going to sound fantastic live

See:

Calgary from The Colbert Report. A late night highlight of the year.

I’m really pissed off with myself as I missed out on tickets to his show here in Toronto’s Sound Academy. As often happens with me, the whole announcing-a-sale-date and being-sold-announcement seemed to merged. Hopeful of getting to it somehow anyway. Not a fantastic venue and his two dates in Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre on October 20th would be far more desirable.

Anyway, onward with the linkage…

UPDATE: from last night, a prompt return to Fallon to perform “Holocene”

And can i have a prize for not mentioning the word “cabin” in this blog?

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