Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Jagjaguar, 2011
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2012
Price: $8

I have mostly quit buying records. Something clicked in my brain like, 6 months ago where I realized I was broke and really needed to un-stuff my life. Not like I’m going to sell off my record collection, but I used to be pretty bad when it came to buying records. Now I can’t think of buying anything without thinking about how many hours of work it took me to get something. In this case, it took a little under one hour of work to get one of the most beautiful records of 2011 on vinyl, which is a more than fair trade I think. Considering that Jenny loves it too, and it will spend a considerable amount of time on the turntable (and assuming the bedroom turntable worked, it would take out a year long lease there NOT WHAT YOU THINK (or is it!!!)). The Grammys are on tonight and Bon Iver got some nominations for this record. It’s obnoxious because it’s the Grammys, which seem to go out of their way to honor only the garbage, but they seem to be getting restless (what with “Who the Fuck is Arcade Fire?” gate last year) and getting ballsy by nominating an occasional excellent record. But really, good for Justin Vernon! Now more people will get to hear this gorgeous record. Jenny and I drove across Wisconsin last week. From Minneapolis to Milwaukee, cruising across snowy hills and barns, through Vernon’s hometown Eau Claire and down through more countryside. It’s beautiful up there. I see where he gets it. And I love how he’s moved beyond the cabin mythology on this one, driving his music further than anyone excepted on the sophomore LP. The lyrical directness of For Emma, Forever Ago and “Blood Bank” is all but gone, replaced with beautiful words and images and a timeless quality. We spent the whole driving listening to Bon Iver (with the exception of the last couple of hours, in which it was stand-up comedy because that and This American Life podcasts are what keep a roadtrip from getting insane). I have that habit of soundtracking any place I go to on vacation. When we were in Minneapolis, I played nothing but the Hold Steady, Lifter Puller, Husker Du, and the Replacements. When we went to Denton last year the Mountain Goats All Hail West Texas was prominently featured. It’s corny but I like it. So Bon Iver meshed up nicely with the early evening across Wisconsin where the sun made the fields look like iced over ponds. I still think “Beth/Rest” is the defining song on this record but only because I think picking an individual song off of this record as a favorite is mindbogglingly hard because, again again again, it’s such a Record with a big fat capital R (and to be fair, "Beth/Rest" sounds almost entirely different from every song on the record, it's just that every song on the record seems to be somehow building up to this point). I am exceedingly excited about following Justin Vernon’s hopefully long career (and the prospect to moving to a cabin in the upper Midwest with my wife and dog and getting to just enjoy because holy shit, it’s gorgeous up there).

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