Music News

Bon Iver

Justin Vernon, Bon Iver's central figure (joined on these bills by The Wheel), is a Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter who first gained widespread attention for last year's For Emma, Forever Ago, a cathartic recording laid down during a three-month stay in a remote cabin following the collapse of a romantic relationship and a bout with mono. Don't know how related these incidents were, but there's no denying the emotional impact of cuts such as "Blindsided," whose random images — "The moon is a cold light...My feet melt the snow" — combine to form a picture like dabs of color from a pointillist's brush. This year's Blood Bank, a four-song EP, has a few more upbeat moments, comparatively speaking: In the title cut, Vernon scores a kiss from a woman whose admirable qualities include honor and nice cheeks. But overall, he remains a melancholic — albeit one capable of transforming his unhappiness into a fragile form of art.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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