Artist: Bon Iver
Title: Blood Bank EP
Format: 12" Single
Catalogue Number: JAG134
Year of Release: 2009
A1 Blood Bank (4:37)
A2 Beach Baby (2:35)
B1 Babys (4:37)
B2 Woods (4:44)
On the lyric sheet Justin Vernon gives details of the recordings of the songs on this EP, but coyly states these details are "not in order". I deduce from those details that one of these four tracks was recorded at the same time as the For Emma album, and rejected. Using my ears, I can tell you that it's Beach Baby that has this dubious honour.
Each of the other three tracks is much more interesting. In reverse order then; Babys introduces repetitive piano phrases to the Bon Iver sound, building around the phrase, "Summer comes... to multiply", breaks into a boring middle, then goes back to piano and repetition.
The title song is a full-band sound, with dream-like lyrics that still manage to be more realistic and grounded than the material on For Emma. Both of these tunes I think show a musician unwilling to be pigeon-holed quickly into churning out albums that sound the same as his critically-acclaimed début, and they are more interesting as 'departures-from' than tunes in themselves.
By far the best number though is Woods, which the majority of reviewers I've seen seem to dismiss as some kind of throwaway filler tune. The same lines are repeated throughout:
I'm up in woods
I'm down on my mind
I'm building a still
To slow down the time
And they are repeated by many overlapping vocal parts, mostly through vocoder or auto-tune effects. There's nothing else, and it's brave and wondrous - and promises much more good stuff to come from Bon Iver. I only hope bands like Fleet Foxes are taking note.
I have a voucher to download these four track that I haven't used. If you want to use it, feel free, but please leave a comment when you have done, because the voucher can only be used four times in a given 24 hour period, and if you are first, then others need to know!
Go to: http://www.jagjaguwar.com/blackmountainmp3.php
Enter the code: JAG134.3WgmtYjQatz