Results for Bon Iver

reviews
Bon Iver (Deluxe Edition)Bon Iver, Bon Iver available on iTunes

Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver

There's been a whole lotta commentary about the new album by Bon Iver–some good, some bad. Justin Vernon first made a splash in 2008 with For Emma, Forever Ago. Even Kanye West is a fan. But the mythology precedes the record according to Greg. Bon Iver, Bon Iver is much more lushly orchestrated, but it really starts to sag in the middle. By the last track Greg was having bad visions of Steve Winwood and Bruce Hornsby. He says Burn It. Jim hears Mike + The Mechanics and thinks Greg is being kind. The production is grating, the lyrics nonsensical and the vibe drippy and snoozy. In other words: Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 291
22, A Million22, A Million available on iTunes

Bon Iver 22, A Million

Bon Iver, the heart-on-sleeve, confessional music project of Justin Vernon, has received critical praise and a Grammy since its debut in 2007. 22, A Million is Bon Iver's first new album in five years and it is a marked departure with an emphasis on electronics over more traditional folk instrumentation. None of that ‘critical praise’ has come from Jim or Greg, and this album doesn‘t change that. Jim says Bon Iver’s music annoys him“more than fingernails on a blackboard.”He calls this album a“disaster,”with music that is long, slow and without melody. Greg, is only slightly more forgiving. He says Vernon sounds lost and this album is a manifestation of a crisis of conscience. However, that is not something he wants to listen to. If not obvious, this is a double- Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 566
Livin' on a High NoteLivin' On a High Note available on iTunes

Mavis Staples Livin' On a High Note

Mavis Staples had a legendary career with her family's gospel and soul band The Staple Singers, which was a major part of the protest movement of the 1960s and scored huge hits for Stax in the 1970s. Mavis reinvented herself as solo artist in 2000s, collaborating on records with Ry Cooder and Jeff Tweedy. For Livin' On a High Note, she and producer M. Ward as a producer asked a variety of contemporary songwriters to write material for her to sing, including Neko Case, Nick Cave, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. Jim loves how the best songs bring Mavis full circle by referencing on the Black Lives Matter movement. While the other songs are hit and miss, Mavis Staples is a“national treasure”and her voice is as powerful as ever. Jim is still waiting for her end career masterpiece, but this album is a definite Buy It. Greg – who literally wrote the book on Mavis Staples – points to We'll Never Turn Back as her masterpiece, but says this album is very good too. He loves what she does even with the lesser songs, like Vernon's generic love song, which she transforms into a moving address to her sister Yvonne Staples. In the middle of her 70s, Mavis Staples is doing some of the best work of her career.

JimGreg
Go to episode 536
Ones and SixesOnes and Sixes available on iTunes

Low Ones and Sixes

Duluth, Minnesota trio Low has been making hushed, minimal music since 1993, leading critics to dub their sound "slowcore" over the band's objections. (Low stopped by the studios back in 2011). For their eleventh album Ones and Sixes, the band headed to the Eau Claire, Wisconsin studio of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. Greg cringes when people think of Low as mellow and soothing – the music may be quiet, but it's also disquieting, often reaching into dark, even apocalyptic, places. He loves how the band consistently finds new directions to take its sound even while working within the same palette, this time adding texture with electronic static and quaking bass lines. Ones and Sixes doesn't have the same amount of dynamic contrast as some previous records, so it took a while for Jim to warm up to it. But after repeated listens, he now counts it as one of his favorite Low albums. That makes it an enthusiastic double-Buy It from both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 512
Crack-UpCrack-Up available on iTunes

Fleet Foxes Crack-Up

Fleet Foxes helped create a Pacific Northwest-based folk-rock movement in the early aughts that featured acts like Blitzen Trapper and Bon Iver. Greg says that on their first record,“Fleet Foxes did it brilliantly, more brilliantly than any of them.”He goes on to say that their latest record, Crack-Up, doesn't fare as well. Greg says "some emotional intensity that [he] so loved about the band has gotten lost amid those serpentine arrangements that they are putting together". He says give it a Try It. Crack-Up was released after a six-year hiatus for the band, during which lead singer/guitarist Robin Pecknold attended school at Columbia University. Jim says though he generally likes Fleet Foxes, on this album there is a lot of "mid-tempo snooziness". He adds that he doesn't know why Pecknold decided to come back from his hiatus, because Pecknold "has nothing new to say". Jim gives the record a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 606
lists

Turkey Shoot

Time to round up the turkeys! Jim and Greg name this year's most disappointing albums as part of their Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot. These aren't just bad records, but ones that should have been so much better. Here are the Butterballs and Tofurkeys for 2011:

Go to episode 312
news

Music News

There were no huge surprises at last week's Grammy Awards; the expected big winner was Adele, and she swept all six of her categories. She also impressed people with her live performance, which comes after a year of cancelled shows and vocal surgery. Jim and Greg didn't rate her album 21 incredibly high, but it's hard to argue with the song“Rolling in the Deep.”One shocker was the awarding of Best New Artist to indie act Bon Iver, over hitmaker Nicki Minaj. And, it's interesting to note that Diana Krall, not Quincy Jones, is now the living artist with the most Grammys.

This year's Grammy broadcast was the highest rated since 1984. Over 39 million people tuned in, in large part to see how the ceremony would honor Whitney Houston, who passed away only a day before. Jennifer Hudson provided a moving tribute performance of "I Will Always Love You," connecting with Houston's gospel roots. And in the week since her death, over 100,000 copies of her greatest hits album sold. Greg asserts that Houston was the greatest pop vocalist of the past 25 years, and every singer in her wake has been influenced by her style. Sometimes that led to oversinging, but that's what separated Houston from the rest of the diva pack. It's in the sparsely produced, more controlled performances of songs like "The National Anthem" and "I Love the Lord," where you really hear Houston shine.

Go to episode 325

Music News

Following up on their 2011 music business report last week, Jim and Greg are happy to announce that vinyl album sales continue to be healthy. For the third year in a row, Abbey Roadwas the top-selling vinyl album. But nostalgia isn't the only thing pushing record sales. New artists like Mumford and Sons, Bon Iver and The Black Keys also had top selling vinyl products. Jim and Greg are pleased to know that music fans continue to have affection for this format, especially in a year when digital music sales finally topped physical ones.

Coachella, the first of the big music festivals of the season, announced its upcoming lineup. During not one, but two weekends in the California desert, attendees can see performances by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Radiohead, The Black Keys and Jeff Mangum. But they'll miss out on a reported Black Sabbath reunion due to guitarist Tony Iommi's recent cancer diagnosis.

Our last bit of news proves that when it comes to the life of a musician, not a whole lot has changed in two centuries. A letter written by composer Ludwig van Beethoven has emerged in Germany valued at over $128,000. In what the BBC describes as six pages of“scrawled corrections,”Beethoven complains about his ailments, and like many a rocker today, a lack of money.

Go to episode 320