Hear the New Volcano Choir Album

Sep. 14, 2009
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NPR has posted the entirety of one of the most locally anticipated albums of the year, Volcano Choir's Unmap, the debut album from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Milwaukee's Collections of Colonies of Bees. Actually, it should probably be credited first to Collections of Colonies of Bees and then to Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, since it much more closely recalls the Milwaukee group's modern post-rock than the traditional folk songwriting for which Vernon is better known.

I'm interested in knowing what listeners' first read on it is. It's an album filled with curve balls and left turns, and I think Bon Iver fans unfamiliar with Collections of Colonies of Bees will be particularly surprised. Vernon's voice is often disorted beyond recognition, to the point where his words are indescipherable; they become just another part of a throbbing, ever-shifting mass of sound. Unmap is at times strikingly gorgeous, but it's certainly not for everyone—that may shock a lot of people, given how Bon Iver was for everyone, more or less. Will Vernon's fans follow him into such avant-garde territory?

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