Justin Vernon has been so omnipresent over the past decade-plus that it’s easy to forget that there have only been three proper Bon Iver albums. Soon, there will be four. Lately, Bon Iver has been teasing the announcement of a new LP, and last month, they shared two new songs, “Hey, Ma” and “(U) Man Like.” And today, they’ve laid their cards on the table. The fourth Bon Iver album is called i, i, and it’ll be out next month.
According to a press release, i, i is the last album in a sort of quadrilogy — one that imagines For Emma, Forever Ago as winter, Bon Iver, Bon Iver as spring, and 22, A Million as summer. (You have probably already figured this out already, but i, i is autumn.) Bon Iver recorded the two new albums at two different studios: Vernon’s own April Base home in Wisconsin, and Sonic Ranch in West Texas. And the new LP includes some big-name guests, including James Blake, the National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner, Bruce Hornsby, Moses Sumney, Francis & The Lights’ Francis Starlite, Megafaun’s Phil and Brad Cook, Poliça’s Channy Leaneagh, Spank Rock’s Naeem Juwan, Velvet Negroni, and Marta Salogni. Also, Wye Oak leader Jenn Wasner now seems to be a full-on member of Bon Iver.
This morning, Bon Iver has shared two new tracks, “Faith” and “Jelmore.” “Faith” is a sweeping and triumphant track — one that would probably register as a blues-rock jam if it wasn’t so full of electronic effects. It features contributions from Francis Starlite, Jenn Wasner, Bryce Dessner, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and a horn section that is officially credited as the Sad Sax Of Shit. Meanwhile, “Jelmore” is a sort of glitchy hymn with keyboard work from Brad Cook. Listen to both tracks below.
On the new album, Vernon says:
It feels very much like the most adult record, the most complete. It feels like when you get through all this life, when the sun starts to set, and what happens is you start gaining perspective. And then you can put that perspective into more honest, generous work…
The title of the record can mean whatever it means to you or me. It can mean deciphering and bolstering one’s identity. It can be how important the self is and how unimportant the self is, how we’re all connected.
And on moving to the Sonic Ranch studio in Texas, he adds:
It allowed us to feel confident and comfortable, to be completely free of distraction. I don’t think I left the property in six weeks. And in many ways the story of the album is the story of those six weeks rather than the almost six years of some of the songs.
05 “Hey, Ma”
06 “U (Man Like)”
Bon Iver had already announced massive tour that’ll take them across North America this fall. The list of opening acts at different dates is pretty great: Feist, Yo La Tengo, Sharon Van Etten, and the Indigo Girls.
7/11 – Madrid, Spain @ Mad Cool Festival
7/13 – Oeiras, Portugal @ NOS Alive
7/16 – Lyon, France @ Les Nuits De Fourvière
7/17 – Verona, Italy @ Castello Scaligero, Villafranca di Verona
7/19 – Wiesbaden, Germany @ Schlachthof
7/21 – Gräfenhainichen, Germany @ Melt Festival
8/31 – Missoula, MT @ KettleHouse Amphitheater *
9/02 – Vail, CO @ Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater #
9/03 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre #
9/04 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Maverik Center #
9/06 – George, WA @ The Gorge Amphitheatre #
9/07 – Vancouver, BC @ Pacific Coliseum #
9/10 – Portland, OR @ Theater of the Clouds #
9/12 – San Francisco, CA @ Chase Center #
9/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum #
10/3 – St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center %
10/4 – Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena %
10/6 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena %
10/8 – Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center %
10/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center %
10/11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center ^
10/15 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden %
10/17-18 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem %
10/19 – Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena %
* with Indigo Girls
# with Sharon Van Etten
% w/ Feist
^ w/ Yo La Tengo
i, i is out 8/30 on Jagjaguwar.