Results for Justin Vernon

reviews
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
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
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
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