Friday, August 12, 2011

Bon fires

We were going to write a few simple words about homeboy Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, whose mystical musical path is one of the more fascinating success stories of recent years.  Then we read a bio on that stopped us in our tracks.  An excerpt:

First it was For Emma, Forever Ago. The soul in a refraction of icicles. A moment hanging like breath on air. And yet life – even still life – is not still. The story is not a story if it does not unravel. Your eyes you may cast backward, but the heart is locked in the chest and must beat forever forward. Bon Iver, Bon Iver is the frozen beast pressing upward from a loosening earth, one ear cocked to the echo of the ghost choir still singing, the other craving the martial call of drums tumbling, of thrum and wheeze. The desolation smoke has dissipated, cut with strips of brass. Celebration will not be denied, the cabinet cannot contain the rattle, there is meat on the bones.

A refraction of icicles? Thrum and wheeze?  OK, we're never going to get a gig writing online blurbs. We thought Vernon was just a guy who went to a Wisconsin cabin alone in winter, recorded the sublime music that would become the 2008 breakout album Emma, For Ever Ago, and almost instantly became as famous as an Impressionist painter. Now we learn with his latest release that he has unleashed "a frozen beast pressing forward from a loosening earth."  It's almost too much.

And all we really wanted to do this morning was pass along a list of's "Best Music of 2011 So Far"  and congratulate our man for cracking yet another Top 10 (we're pretty sure this will make many year-end lists as well):

1. Foster the People, Torches
2. The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow
3. Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues
4. Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
5. Adele, 12
6. The Decemberists, The King is Dead
7. Bon Iver, Bon Iver
8. My Morning Jacket, Circuital
9. Cut Copy, Zonoscope
10. Tune-yards, Whokill

The thrum and wheeze was recorded and mixed at a studio in Fall Creek, just up the road from our old hometown.  So close, and these days it seems, so far away.

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