It was supposed to be the year that the electro-Europop ushered in by Lady Gaga completed its rise to total airwave domination. It was supposed to be the year hip-hop gave up trying to be as relevant as it was in the ’00s. It was supposed to be the year rock staged a comeback. But none of those things happened.
This post marks the beginning of a new feature here at Rhombus: the song of the day. In an effort to bring you great music, both local and otherwise, and fulfill our goal of helping you expand your musical horizons to include the best artists available, we will pass along one Rhombus-approved song each and every day for your listening pleasure (barring global catastrophe.) These entries will be shorter than our normal articles, but we will do our best to provide you with the context and reasoning behind why we feel the included song is worthwhile and/or relevant to you. That being said, we hope you come back every day to check out a new song and enjoy reading Rhombus as much as we enjoy writing it.
Bon Iver, “Woods”
If you attended last Thursday’s Twilight Concert Series show at the Gallivan Center, you were treated to a phenomenal performance from Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s favorite sons, Bon Iver. The band’s beautifully sad sound pulls you in and holds you tight, enrapturing your mind and heart. “Woods” is probably not the most representative song to use in introducing the band to our readers, but I chose to use it anyway.
This song sounds different from every other Bon Iver song in the fact that it uses AutoTune software (see also: T-Pain) heavily. Normally, Justin Vernon and company eschew any technological enhancement, instead opting to play spare, stripped down folk songs with an unarguably organic feel. This is why “Woods” fascinates me so much: to hear such an anti-AutoTune band indulge in the practice so completely and use the resultant robo-vocals to create such a rich, layered feel is truly fantastic to me. If AutoTune should ever be used, Bon Iver should be the only ones allowed to do so. Some may hate this track on principle, but I hope you’ll at least give it a chance. I promise it can (and hopefully will) temporarily redeem AutoTune for the briefest of moments.
Our prayers have been answered: the music gods have looked upon Salt Lake City and they have blessed it – abundantly.
Thursday evening marks the first show of the Twilight Concert Series at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake, which will feature the excellent indie-folk group Bon Iver and opener Jenny Lewis. The free concert series has become increasingly relevant in recent years by recruiting top-notch national acts, including Nada Surf, the Roots, Andrew Bird, Broken Social Scene, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Neko Case, among others. However, the Salt Lake City Arts Council (the series’ host) has really upped its game for 2009. In addition to Bon Iver and Lewis, Salt Lake City will welcome a plethora of talented artists to town this summer, including the Black Keys, M. Ward, Sonic Youth, Iron & Wine, Okkerville River and Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears. This excellent line-up should have downtown rocking every Thursday night all summer long.
Thursday’s headliner, Bon Iver, took the music world by storm in 2008 with its sparse, aching debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago. Crafted in a secluded Wisconsin cabin by frontman Justin Vernon, the album and its recording process instantly reached mythical status amongst critics and fans alike. The album ended up on virtually every critic’s “Top Ten” list for 2008 and propelled Bon Iver onto the national stage. Since then the group has released an excellent EP, been featured on multiple television shows and toured the world. Not half bad for a couple guys from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
You may remember Jenny Lewis, who will open Thursday’s show, from her childhood role as the young lead character in the 1989 movie Troop Beverley Hills. If you were fortunate enough to miss that flick, you may also recognize her as the frontwoman of beloved indie band Rilo Kiley. Lewis’ first solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, received critical praise following its release in 2006 and her latest full-length effort, Acid Tongue, has continued in its predecessor’s worthy footsteps. If you like sweet folk melodies and angelic vocals, Jenny Lewis is your girl.
If you’ve ever lamented the (previously) sad state of Utah’s concert scene (or even if you haven’t and you just like great music), you should be at the Gallivan Center every Thursday night for the next two months. Nowhere else in the country will you be able to see this caliber of artist for free. This type of cultural opportunity doesn’t happen often in Utah. Take advantage of it while you can.
Bon Iver and Jenny Lewis will play tonight (Thursday, July 9th) at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City. The show starts at 7:00 p.m. and admission is free. To hear tracks by these artists, check out the songs included below.
Isaac Brock and Company, known to the world as popular indie band Modest Mouse, are coming to Utah. Take a minute to catch your breath.
The band announced the details of their upcoming North American tour on Tuesday and — surprise! — will make a stop at Salt Lake City’s In The Venue on September 1st. Considering the state of Utah’s general concert depression for the last x number of years, this is a boon — and one I really don’t understand.
For years it has seemed that good artists avoided Salt Lake City like the plague. No one would come near it and, if they did, it was only once every five years. Sure, we got the Gwen Stefanis of the world, but very few acts that didn’t completely suck.
Then (miraculously) the heavens opened and 2009 became the year of great concerts in Utah: the Twilight Summer Concert Series stocked up in a big way (Bon Iver, Jenny Lewis, the Black Keys, Sonic Youth, M. Ward, Iron & Wine, Okkerville River — all for free!) and the shows, big and small, have been pouring in ever since. Conor Oberst is playing a benefit at Library Square. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart will be rocking the tight confines of Kilby Court. The Killers will grace the E Center (but, to be fair, they do come every year.)
In years past, the aforementioned shows would constitute the all-time greatest summer concert line-up ever. Yet, in 2009, they serve only as an introduction, with so many great show slated for the coming months that I can’t even begin to name them all.
I’m not completely sure how to handle this, so I will simply fall to the earth and praise the Music Gods for blessing northern Utah in ways that we have not even begun to fully realize — but soon will.