blood-bank-ep.jpgWhat better way to stoke the fire for 2009 than by releasing an EP hot on the heels of near ubiquitous year-end praise for your debut LP? (Including a #2 slot here at AD.) Bon Iver has done just that with the Blood Bank four-song EP that feels like a bit of an experimental branch off of For Emma, Forever Ago and yet still holds that album’s tone.

The title track itself is worth the price of admission, a driving song that echoes a lot of the LP’s finest moments in its melancholic ruminations, subdued noise and haunting vocals. “Beach Baby” feels like a leftover track from the album that would be an admirable short filler song for an LP, but isn’t a standout song on its own. Using mostly Justin Vernon’s voice and a muted guitar, occasional licks of pedal steel punctuate the song’s loneliness. “Babys” uses almost nothing but droning, repetitive piano chords and vocals to create an atmosphere that washes over the listener, again sounding like a leftover track. Is that a criticism? With Bon Iver, not really.

“Woods” here is the truly standout track – not just because of its breaking of the alliterative theme of the album song titles up until this point – but because we get to hear a full on autotune song. Bon Iver had teased with brief flashes of the autotuner on For Emma.. but hadn’t full on used it to dominate a song. “Woods” is structured from head to toe utilizing the autotuner and, as far as I can tell, nothing else. It’s a purely an a capella song that manages to be one of the most unique additions to the Bon Iver catalogue up until now. Whether it elicits repeat listens is up to each person, but as far as really sticking in your memory, it’s a great way to close out a strong stop-gap EP. words/ j neas

MP3: Bon Iver :: Blood Bank
Amazon: Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP

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Bon Iver :: Your Love (Outfield cover)

This fan-shot, live, video from last month’s show is a must watch.

MP3: Bon Iver :: Your Love (Live, via)

+ Download Bon Iver via eMusic’s no risk 25 Free MP3 trial offer.

16 Responses to “Bon Iver :: Blood Bank EP”

  1. The Blood Bank EP is excellent. And I think the autotune on “For Emma” is a highlight of the album. But “Woods” is extremely repetitive. If you accept that “Hide and Seek” is the ultimate example of a song based on autotune, then you have to admit that “Woods” falls far short. It’s interesting, but not something that I want to listen to more than a few times.

  2. […] Aquarium Drunkard: MP3 Blog, Music Blog » Bon Iver :: Blood Bank EP […]

  3. love the cover. remember the song well.

  4. I’m late to the bon party but it looks I will be destroyed by another singer songwriter. What is a boy to do…

  5. i love that outfield song, what a great cover.

  6. Rich, but alone; Beautiful, but life is not that nice. Desire a mingle of wealth and beauty? That’s what is dedicated to do.

  7. […] Listen to a free tune off Bon Iver’s upcoming EP.  Get it. […]

  8. I totally thought that 6th comment was building up to be an insightful comment about Bon Iver’s music..

  9. If “Woods” is seriously repetitive, it may be the point, because the “repetitiveness” is beautiful. The addition of vocoder on “Woods” makes the EP the stellar success it is. Some of the tracks evoke the idea that Justin Vernon listened to some 70s artists (Eagles circa 1972 influences on “Blood Bank”, and “Woods” is a song that, to me, that is a mixture of Stevie Wonder (Music of My Mind) and The Band (Music From Big Pink/The Band) influences) and crafted his own, original acoustic tunes based on this. Justin Vernon is a genius, and Blood Bank will be one of the best EPs (or any album, for that matter) of 2009.

    My only gripe about the EP is that the cover of The Outfield’s “Your Love” was excluded. The inclusion of that song would elevate perfection to an unattainable level.

  10. […] Wisconsin’s own Bon Iver created one of the most beloved albums of 2008 with his deeply moving For Emma, Forever Ago. Fans curious to hear what beautiful music he’ll make next are getting a sneak peak, with his new EP, Blood Bank. […]

  11. My album sucks arse. Find something better to enjoy!

  12. […] Bon Iver – Your Love (The Outfield via) […]

  13. Surprisingly great cover choice which reveals something I’d never heard in the original (like all great covers). In this case, it’s the moody, repetitive guitar arpeggios, which point to a little more depth than I’d suspected in the track.

    Or maybe it’s just that I was like 14 when this came out, and I had no clue?

  14. […] Bon Iver – Your Love (The Outfield via) […]

  15. I’m surprised by some of the criticism around the ‘net concerning “Woods.” Of course, it’s repetitive–it’s 4 lines. It sounds insanely beautiful, though. I, personally, can’t stop listening to it. It’s haunting me.

  16. […] So far, Justin Vernon can do no wrong. Last year’s “For Emma, Forever Ago” album was widely lauded as one of the best things to happen to music ever. I might not argue there. There’s something about the falsetto and wintery-feel of Bon Iver’s music that catches ones ear in a new way. The Blood Bank EP is only 4 songs, but all of them hold that same haunting quality that the band is becoming know for. You know how artists often strive for that authentic quality, or spiritual depth that will connect them with an audience? For some reason, Bon Iver seems to be doing that for a lot of people, and it is so weird. The indie guy inside me wants to keep it all underground and not share this little jewel with anyone, but then again I am glad that good music is being recognized. Anyways, Blood Bank is something special if you are into calmish, acoustic indie music. Favorite tracks: all, but I have a particular fondness for Woods, an acapella track with like 15 harmonizing voices and the most unique use of autotune ever. Aquarium Drunkard review. […]

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