For the past month or so, I’d been ignoring the blog-hype surrounding the self-released Forever Ago, For Emma. After all, blogs exist solely for hype, don’t they? I’m such a hypocrite, I know. Anyway, you may have heard that Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) recently signed to Jagjaguwar. Jagjaguwar is one of the few labels that I like to watch. They’re relatively small, at least compared to fellow indie-juggernauts Matador and Sub-Pop, but they tend to wield a similar, if not greater amount of influence than those two labels. Why? Simply put, they sign superior artists. Of the dozen or so Jagjaguwar releases I’ve heard this year, I can honestly say that I that I’ve liked every single one. Bon Iver is no exception. Considering the hyperbole that generally riddles blog press (I make no claims of innocence here), I’ve found that for Bon Iver, the bloggers are spot on. Forever Ago, For Emma is a modern folk near-masterpiece, filled with deeply intimate songs of the most skeletal sort. Justin Vernon’s ghostly falsetto resonates with melancholy and sincerity, something that’s sorely missed in these days of manufactured “indie” hits. If you’re tired of such artists, then please, turn your attention to Bon Iver. He deserves it.
[From Forever Ago, For Emma; self-release available now, out early 2008 on Jagjaguwar]