All My Rowdy Friends

Noble Beast & Blood Bank: Music Reviews by J. Emerson-Kramer
February 5, 2009, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Music

There have been a few major releases in the past weeks. Most notably Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast and Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP.


This album is another gorgeous piece of work from Andrew Bird. His lyrics are playful but have the depth that has come to be expected from his work. There is also a feeling of American roots in this album that was surprising to me. This is a definite buy for me. –Jon


Masterswarm is definitely the stand-out track of the album for me. At the beginning of the track when the guitar doubles the vocal line, it makes it feel like an old blues piece until the two split and the bass notes lead. Out of nowhere the song transitions to a vaguely Latin groove but continues to evolve. The element of surprise in this track is what shines for me. -Jon

iverxp0The new EP from Bon Iver, Blood Bank is more of the same from a great artist. Truthfully I’m glad that he released a four track EP rather than a full length follow up to For Emma, Forever Ago mostly because with how powerful of an album that was, it would have been hard to meet expectations. That being said, I’m having a hard time with the track Woods. An autotuner isn’t interesting to me and I’m having a difficult time understanding the inclusion of this song, especially as the EP is only four tracks. With that being said, I still think its a solid batch of songs and worth buying. -Jon

Blood Bank [Audio

The title track is definitely my favorite from the EP. Great story in the lyrics and a good feel, even if it is a little less raw than the first album. -Jon

Charlies Take:

Bon Iver: Blood Bank EP

I’m going to have to agree with Jon on everything said above me. While it is exciting to get a new release from the Bon Iver crew, I have to say that I am a bit disappointed with this most recent release. This first song Blood Bank is a wonderful track and I might even say that its my favorite song by these guys to date. With that being said, the rest of this E.P. really does not hold together well. I was just not impressed with it, especially compared to his last release. I am not surprised though. I think that the group is still trying to find their feet after having such a strong debut. As Jon said, the track Woods really is my least favorite track. Part of this distaste might be that the use of the autotuner on the vocals just reminds me too much of contemporary R&B(top 40) usage. I have a distinct aversion to that sound, I get sort of nauseas when I hear Kanye West/Akon ETC… This is a bit more of a personal pet peeve, sorry to be so harsh… I really respect this group of muscians and I expect great things from them in the near future. I If you are a Bon Iver fan than you should probably purchase this record to get your latest fix. If you dont own any of his records, you should go ahead and buy For Emma, Forever Ago, which is an absolutely beatiful record. If you ever have the chance to see them live, you will not be dissapointed.

As for the latest release by Mr.Bird:

As to not repeat the comments of Jon, I also enjoy this new release. Andrew Bird is awesome straight up and I could not be more excited about having such a wonderful group of musicians at his side live(Martin Dosh (percussion, looping, keys), Jeremy Ylvisaker (guitar, bass, organ, shortwave) and more recently Mike Lewis, plus a supporting cast including Kelly Hogan, Todd Sickafoose, and the band Loney Dear.) Something that I have noticed on this recent release is that it is more about Andrew Bird than he previous release. Aside from “Not A Robot, A Ghost,” which features the distinct percussive sounds of Martin Dosh, we get a lot more of Bird’s American Folk roots as Jon said. I really enjoy this record and I look forward to getting to know it more. You should buy it.

Buy Noble Beast from Emusic
Buy Blood Bank from Emusic

Bonus: Stereogum posted Bon Iver doing this amazing cover of Feist’s The Park on Australian radio. Check it here


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