I heard a track from Bon Iver for the first time last year but I wasn’t completely blown away. Then today I listened to a recording of him performing live at South by Southwest and I suddenly liked it. So I went and listened again to a few tracks from his album, For Emma, Forever Ago, and I realised why the discrepancy — he sounds much better live than on the CD.
He’s big on the falsettos, so you might not even agree with me on that if you don’t like falsettos. But I think his voice has a raw, gritty and vulnerable quality that makes his live performance quite visceral.
Bon Iver is really just one guy named Justin Vernon. He wrote For Emma, Forever Ago, his debut CD, while holed up in a cabin in Wisconsin trying to exorcise some inner demons. I think the concert recording captures the darkness, misery and anguish really well, while the album sounds too… clean.
Listen to the concert recording here.