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Blood Bank [Vinyl] Single

42 customer reviews

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Blood Bank
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Vinyl, Single, January 20, 2009
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$11.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details In Stock. Ships from and sold by in easy-to-open packaging. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

This four-song collection continues down the path forged by 2008's critically acclaimed "For Emma, Forever Ago". Bon Iver's snow-blanketed harmonies live across the seasons. As much as "Emma" is about the cold, "Blood Bank" is about the warmth that gets you through it. Both expansive and intimate, these songs explore the darker and lighter natures of the seasons and what they signify, and offer a glimpse into the natural energy and refined craftsmanship that characterize Justin Vernon's music.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (January 20, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Single
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • ASIN: B001MDIA5G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,710 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Russell Evansen on January 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Bon Iver (essentially Justin Vernon and a couple of bandmates) burst out of the frozen Wisconsin north woods in 2007 with "For Emma, Forever Ago" - a record of quiet, contemplative and deeply felt songs triggered by the ending of several relationships, both personal and professional. Vernon took advantage of his months of isolation to craft a set of emotionally direct songs that sometimes employed rather oblique lyrics, and his not-for-everybody falsetto singing was said to be either enchanting (most critics) or off-putting (many music fans).

But as word spread about "Emma" and Bon Iver played more and more live shows (even turning up on late night TV on rare ocassions) his fan base grew, and an increasing number of online reviews labeled "Emma" an emotional masterpiece.

If you're new to this artist, you should probably begin with "Emma" to get a sense of his unique style. Fans of that record, however, will find much to love on "Blood Bank," which contains several tunes written and/or recorded around the same time period. The title cut is especially strong, with sharp lyrics and strong guitar work.

The first three songs could easily be outtakes from "Emma," and all are easily the equal of anything found on that record. It's the final cut, "Woods" that is the wild card, and the one that is likely to sharply divide dedicated Bon Iver fans. Making use of the Auto-tune technology currently in vogue among hip-hop artists like L'il Wayne and Kanye West, Vernon electronically distorts his vocals to the point where he sounds almost machine-like.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Baron von Gaspantstein on January 20, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This EP is a good sign for people who liked Bon Iver's first album. The tunes are soulful and share similar aspects to the LP: the falsetto voice layered multiple times, the trance-like repetition that builds to an emotional release, the cryptic lyrics.

There is also experimentation. "Blood Bank," is recognizably written for a full band. "Beach Baby," uses a slide guitar solo. "Babys" uses piano, one note repeated for tension. He uses a similar technique with his voice and guitar, but the piano adds a new tone. But these are small experiments.

The big surprise comes with "Woods," when he uses vocoder. This song needed to go last, because I don't know what you could put after it. In the beginning the vocals are high in the mix, but as the song progresses the same repeated lines are sung in different ways and recorded differently, some with harmony, some distantly reverbed; it all creates a huge emotional space. My favorite part is when he strains the heights of his register. Amazing.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Adam on March 18, 2009
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago was one of 2008's biggest critical darlings. On that album, Mr. Vernon kept things at their absolute most basic. He recorded in solitude on what he described as "a very light set-up" with the intent of distributing the recordings as demos to be shopped to the labels. In the end, he created a timeless piece that was driven by simplicity and emotion.

Often a fear for both artists and labels is the sophomore effort. Will the fans be as receptive? Does the artist have another glittering prize in their pocket? It's called the sophmore slump for a reason. Fortunately, Bon Iver's Blood Bath EP picks up where For Emma, Forever Ago left off and takes small paddles into a bigger sea.

Track by Track:

"Blood Bank" (4:45)
It sounds like a track that could have easily been on For Emma but with a bit more polish. Don't fear, is still simple and beautiful. It's just slightly cleaner in sound. Vernon also drags out his "Iiiiiiiiiiiiii...know it well" to the point of striking a Coldplay pose. Don't let it deter you, Vernon has a lovely voice and the softness of these lines underscore a great song.

"Beach Baby" (2:40)
This is a short song starting with just Vernon and his acoustic guitar. He quickly paints the picture of lost love's despair and even borders on sarcasm. The first line says it all with "When you're out, tell your lucky know that you'll leave." After his brief acoustic reflection, the song closes with a haunting slide guitar.

"Babys" (4:43)
"Babys" is broken into thirds. The first 1:25 of this song is repetitive piano chords that evoke mental imagery of a snowfall and sounds like a cross between a George Winston track and Animal Collective's "My Girls".
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David Arthurs on February 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
First, let me say the songs are good - the title track is very good. But I just cannot get over the pricing on this one. You can buy the full album (cd), For Emma Forever Ago for $10.99 and this FOUR (4) yes, FOUR!!! song EP costs $10.98. Am I the only one who thinks this is absurd?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Storylover VINE VOICE on January 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD
How to describe the music of Justin Vernon? The concept is not new--talented guy, sort of lo-fi recording set up, guitar. Nothing new. Yet, somehow, this guy coaxes austere majesty from nothingness. If you are interested in the EP, then you probably already have For Emma, Forever Ago. Clearly, that is the place to start for Bon Iver. It is a nearly perfect album, stark and haunting in its bleakness.

But lets assume you already know that. What about this EP, Blood Bank? Well, if you were hoping for something new, you're gonna get it. If you were hoping for more of the same, you're gonna get that too. And I mean both of those things in the best possible way. Justin's guitar playing remains hypnotic, a drone pushed to the background on which he layers vocal track after vocal track. These multitracked wonders of harmony and, if not dissonance, then perhaps near harmony are a big part of what make him so special. He uses his full range, including a very interesting falsetto, throughout each of his songs, creating an insular and fascinating sound world. Lyrics float in and out of the haze, struggling to be understood. The words are important, but not as important as the raw feeling that you get from the sounds.

The title track is the one that a lot of folks have heard--it is beautiful and perhaps the most similar to the first album. But from there, things start to grow and change. "Babys" features a repeated piano figure instead of a guitar drone, and it is definitely a little bit of a surprise, but as always, the bleakness and grandiosity both somehow get to you. How can so much music fit into so little tune? Yet this music is not without melody--melody just reveals itself slowly, much like the pleasure of listening to this disc.
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Blood Bank [Vinyl]
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