Leigh MichaelWednesday,13 November 2013

The Snap:

Time for a not-so-distant throwback. The Shouting Matches, the brainchild of Bon Iver creator Justin Vernon and his hometown buddies, released an album earlier this year. Grownass Man  has the molasses-style bluesy tone that we’ve all grown to love from artists like the Black Keys. But instead it’s coming from an artist who is known for his sparse and ethereal stylings. It’s a departure – And it’s worth checking out.

The Download: 

Justin Vernon doesn’t know how to chill out. In the past five years, he’s produced work — and pretty mind-blowing work, at that — under the monikers Bon Iver, Gayngs, Volcano Choir, and the Shouting Matches. He’s collaborated with some of the biggest names out there (ahem, Kanye), but no matter how renowned the artist, he always seems to steal the show.

The ever-cynical Pitchfork claims that The Shouting Matches represents Vernon in ““cracked-open beer’ mode, goofing off in a low-stakes environment with trusted musical confidants he’s known for years.”

So if this is Vernon “goofing off,” then he’s a freaking mastermind. The Shouting Matches exudes a laid-back, bluesy vibe that feels like it would work well on the jukebox in a small-town bar. But does this instantly make it a “low-stakes” creation? Nah, didn’t think so.

The Shouting Matches don’t have the angst-ridden, ethereal quality that made Bon Iver such a hit. It doesn’t have the synth-infused sound that permeates Volcano Choir. It’s bluesy… And even a little boozy. It feels like the kind of band that fits somewhere in between the Black Keys and the Allman Brothers. And it really hits the spot.

Grownass Man was released early in 2013, but it still has stayed under the radar. Vernon doesn’t advertise his involvement with the band, setting himself up as the focal point. Instead, he’s just another member. Maybe this is why it’s remained hidden away from fame until now. But I think it’s time to pull away the curtain.

Listen to “I’ll Be True” and “Gallup, NM” for low-key, blues-ridden sounds. Then “Heaven Knows” and “Seven Sisters” – and before you know it, you’ve got a whole new group of most-played songs on your iTunes/Spotify/whathaveyou.

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Hat Tips:

The Shouting Matches, First Listen, Soundcloud, Image Credit: Flickr

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