Bon Iver’s latest project makes me want to say its name correctly. I’ve been mispronouncing Bon Iver (Bone-ee-Vare) since being introduced to the band, which music critics are saying sounds more like a full-fledged group now than when singer Justin Vernon got depressed and locked himself in a cabin in 2007, recording the beautiful “For Emma, Forever Ago” within a few months. While I don’t normally pay attention to industry hobnobs (because their fancy-pants words really irk me), Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore effort is indeed richer, incorporating more musical experiment than Vernon’s standard falsetto and folk.
Standout tracks are “Perth,” which kicks off the new album with a strong melody, slow drumming and eventually, a blast of horns that drone on through the song’s end. Light claps and the line “I was not magnificent” add to the dreaminess of “Holocene,” while a bicycle bell ring sneaks in between the steady bobbing and weaving of “Michicant.” Slightly panicky piano chords bombard us at “Wash.” and mesh with Vernon’s whispers, building in intensity. It feels like we’re looking for something, and we haven’t quite found it yet.
That’s what could be said about “Bon Iver,” which should be listened to front to back and not as individual tracks. It’s following Vernon and Co. on an adventure, one that flows on from one place to the next. We won’t be seeing any memorable “Skinny Love”-esque hits with this new release out Tuesday, but as long as we kindly forget the “Beth/Rest” finale, Bon Iver’s got us hooked for one smooth, innovative trip.
Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore album comes out on Jagjaguwar June 21, 2011. Listen to “Wash.” from the new album below.
Guest-girlfriend-blogged by Amber of Drinking for Two.
Happy Thoughts is Eric LaGrange’s (Cave Weddings, Romance Novels) newest project, released by Hozac Records on June 7th, 2011. This slab of wax features 12 songs of poppy garage punk tunes that are full of earworms you’ll be humming along with in no time. If catchy, no-frills rock is your thing, be sure to pick up Happy Thoughts’ self-titled debut on Hozac Records. You can listen to “Sweet Dirty Love” and “Never Gonna Do It” below.
Mickey’s been making some noise around Chicago for several years, having released a couple of singles since their inception and playing the local circuit fairly regularly. Their sleazy brand of glam-meets-punk reeks of cheap beer and leather jackets, leaving a sweaty trail of chest hair in its wake. Yet, while their sound references flashy bands of yesteryear, Mickey mostly comes off as a working man’s band, hellbent on playing some good ole’ fashioned rock and roll. On their first full-length LP Rock’n Roll Dreamer, Mickey sounds as good as ever, utilizing a slick production that accentuates their pop sensibilities without sacrificing their bite. Hozac Records released Mickey’s debut Rock’n Roll Dreamer on June 14, 2011. Check out “For You” and “Baby, We’re Gold” below.
Zak Sally is a comic artist who used to play bass in the band Low. Since quitting that band, he’s taken time to focus on cartooning, while also creating a solo record, and managing his small press La Mano. Above is an interesting video that highlights what he’s been up to and some of his thoughts on comics in general. He’s also just used kickstarter.com to raise some money for a new project where he’ll combine the first 3 issues of his awesome comic Sammy the Mouse (available through Fantagraphics) to be put out on his own La Mano Press. For some information on this new project and some of the other things he’ll be offering, follow the link below.
Bunny Girl, Tara McPherson, 2011
Tara McPherson is an artist working out of New York City. She will be offering a new print by the name of Bunny Girl, which will be offered exclusively through 1xRUN. 1xRUN is an online gallery that offers limited edition prints from established and emerging artists. Tara’s giclee print will measure 22 x 15.5 and will be available to order from June 6, 2011 – June 12, 2011. The maximum run for this print will be 75. For more information on the artist and this print, go here.
Shannon and the Clams are a female-fronted garage punk band based out of Oakland, California. While some may know frontwoman Shannon Shaw a bit better as one of the punkettes in the fellow Oakland-based band Hunx and His Punx, Shannon and the Clams have actually been around for awhile and have already put out a full-length LP back in 2009 entitled I Wanna Go Home. Shannon and the Clams offers up a similar sound to Hunx and His Punx in that they’re playing with a combination of vintage girl group Doo Wop and garage punk, although Shannon and the Clams also pulls pretty heavily from rockabilly, with galloping guitars holding it down as the backbone for most of these songs. Shannon also proves to be a dynamic frontwoman with a vocal delivery that is brash, expressive, and raw without being unrefined. Often, she comes across as a female version of Buddy Holly, complete with hiccups and glottal stops. Shannon and the Clams’ Sleep Talk came out on April 5, 2011 and was released by 1-2-3-4 Go! Records. Have a listen to “You Will Always Bring Me Flowers” and “The Cult Song” from the album below.
I was just sitting in a bar the other day when a song came on that was familiar, but it took me awhile to pinpoint what it was. The song was off of American Analog Set’s 2001 album Know By Heart. Unfortunately, I’d all but forgotten about this band. Tonight, coincidentally, I was just scouring the internets for new music and happened across a new track by The Wooden Birds and immediately thought “Wow, this sounds a lot like American Analog Set.” Sure enough, there’s a reason for that; The Wooden Birds has been frontman Andrew Kenny’s post-American Analog Set project since 2008. Apparently The Wooden Birds already have one album, Magnolia, under their belt, and Barsuk will be releasing their sophomore album entitled Two Matchsticks. The music featured on this album builds on what Kenny’s produced in the past with AmAnSet, creating hushed, sensitive indie rock that could easily be confused with cuteness. Every note stands out in the mix, delicately and meticulously placed into each song, yet delivered in a manner that both warms the heart and settles the nerves. Also of note is a guest appearance on the album by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. Have a listen to the title track “Two Matchsticks” below and look forward to the release of this one on June 7, 2011.
1. Folly Cub
2. Two Matchsticks
3. Cross My Heart
4. Criminals Win
5. Company Time
6. Warm To the Blade
7. Baby Jeans
8. Too Pretty To Say Please
9. Struck By Lightning
11. Be No Lie
12. Long Time To Lose