If you had asked us after 2007’s For Emma, Forever Ago, or even after 2009’s auto-tune adorned EP, Blood Bank, we probably would have told you Bon Iver would be crazy to put out an album during the summer. Justin Vernon had made a name for himself by capitalizing on heartbreak, exorcizing away emotional terrors with the saddest most delicate music. None of which we would want haunting a sunny summer day. But things have changed since Blood Bank. His dalliances with auto-tune grew into a full supporting roll on the 2010-topping My Dark Twisted Fantasy, allowing Justin to piggy-back on Kanye’s biggest year yet. He had a good run at last week’s SxSW, joined — proceeded, really — Kanye during his Power Plant show, reunited with his old project, DeYarmond Edison, and won praise for both showings. And so yesterday, when he told Rolling Stone that the next Bon Iver album should be ready sometime in June, we rejoiced. This time around, Justin Vernon doesn’t have to just be Bon Iver. Bon Iver can be Justin Vernon.
And so things will be different. “I brought in a lot of people to change my voice — not my singing voice, but my role as the author of this band, this project,” he told Rolling Stone, mentioning experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson who has worked with Tom Waits and Greg Leisz who recorded with Linda Rondstadt and Wilco. “I built the record myself, but I allowed those people to come in and change the scene.”
Each song on the album will represent a different place, like “Perth” (which sounds like birth “but better,” he says) and “Minnesota Wisconsin.” There will be a “Civil War-sounding heavy metal song,” horns, and a children’s choir. Probably something sad, and hopefully a Kanye feature on the song about the time the they spent together in Hawaii. And of the album closer, “Bet/Rest,” he says, “Definitely the part where you pick up your joint and re-light it.” Sounds like summer.