Bon Iver :: Blood Bank EP

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

Download:
MP3: Bon Iver :: Blood Bank
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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.

Download:
MP3: Bon Iver :: Your Love (Live, via)
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16 thoughts on “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.

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  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

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