RIYL: Bon Iver

May 8, 2014
photo: Bon Iver
Bon Iver's debut album, 2007's “For Emma, Forever Ago,” earned widespread critical acclaim, and its backstory of Vernon secluding himself in his Wisconsin cabin after a bad breakup to record the album's nine tracks quickly became a thing of legend. The sophomore self-titled album in 2011 expanded on the sound of the first by layering vocals and adding a more diverse range of instruments. It went on to win "Best Alternative Album" at the 54th Grammy Awards, and the band won "Best New Artist" (regardless of the fact that Bon Iver had existed for five years).

Bon Iver went indefinitely on hiatus back in 2012, but if two albums aren’t enough to quench your thirst for more, here are a few albums you should check out:

Volcano Choir

First, we have to tackle the obvious. If you follow Vernon’s side projects then you probably already know about Volcano Choir. They started as an obscure side project for Vernon and their first album “Unmap”  envoked a similar pseudo-folk soundscape that was a bit more along the lines of something The Books would put out. It featured limited instrumentation and vocals, looped and sampled with other random sounds. Their latest album, "Repave," has allowed an almost seamless transition for the style that Vernon channeled for Bon Iver. In my opinion, "Repave" is Bon Iver’s third full length release, just under a different name.

S. Carey

Ok, so we’re still focusing on directly related artists, but this is another that can’t be passed up. S. Carey is the moniker of musician Sean Carey, who is best known as the drummer and supporting vocalist of Bon Iver. In August 2010, Carey released his first solo album, "All We Grow," which he began working on in 2008 during hiatuses from the band.

Sylvan Esso

The duo Amelia Meath (one third of the band Mountain Man), and Nick Sanborn (Made of Oak, Megafaun), came together somewhat accidentally. They collaborated on a single song that turned out so well, it eventually led to the recording and (forthcoming) release of their debut self-titled album- a collection of vivid addictions concerning suffering and love, darkness and deliverance.

Inner Oceans

A Colorado band that, in their own words, uses “the fury of synthesizers and haunted melodies strung through waves of textured imagery, crafting exhilarating sonic environments.” Listen to their recent OpenAir studio session.

Timber Timbre

A Canadian folk music project whose moniker refers to an early series of recordings made in a timber-framed cabin set in the wooded outskirts of Bobcaygeon, Ontario. Fronted by the deep voice of Taylor Kirk, Timber Timbre’s vocals like to simmer in the bleak hollow spaces of their mostly acoustic instrumentation with lyrics like “Will you beg for forgiveness?/ Will you pray to be saved?/ Will you choke your children when they spit in your face?/ Dreaming every night of you." Their latest album "Hot Dreams" was out in April.

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