Pass the Aux 001: Bon Iver by Bon Iver
the timeless fall essential
Hey, I’m Brandon and welcome to mint\brand – my weekly canvas to be human, explore my brand + music obsessions & share them with you.
In Pass the Aux, I spotlight my favorite ‘head-to-toe’ albums – records I highly recommend savoring from start to end. Each issue finishes with my monthly playlist where I serve you an amuse-bouche of new (& old) heat that I can’t stop listening to.
It’s autumn now, which means that we can finally start dressing. Break out your luxe sweaters, tailored overcoats – even a knitted hat on those brisk mornings!
Except…I’m in Los Angeles so I’ve got the longsleeve tees on deck, maybe even a thin hoodie! (But only when it gets really cold, like, ~60°F ).
In any case, I’ve the perfect pairing for your next fall morning, a staple for this time of year: Bon Iver’s self-titled, 10-track masterpiece, Bon Iver, originally released on June 17, 2011.
Listening notes: Solitude, ethereal, chaotic soulful
Perfect for: A long nighttime drive, foggy mornings, melancholy moments
If you know, you know. If you don’t, I’m incredibly excited for you. This was my introduction to Bon Iver, and since I first heard it in the fall of 2011, it’s become a mainstay of my rotation. There are few artists & albums better suited for moody days, early A.M. moments of solitude, or your next camping trip.
I remember I was experiencing a lot of heartbreak and sadness that fall. For years after, any time I heard a Bon Iver song those feelings would reappear and twist my heartstrings – a very pleasant experience. Up there with Skinny Love & Marvin’s Room, this entire album was certainly filed under the “Tearful” category.
Let me be clear though – I love that about this album (and others). That’s their magic. From start to finish, they capture and share a narrative that latches onto you as you progress through life. Albums like this are your trusty companion – always happy to be a mirror to reflect back how your feelings may or may not have changed since you first listened to it. Today, whenever I revisit Bon Iver, I think about those times fondly.
Justin Vernon's vocals and dynamic instrumental arrangements perfectly distill a sense of loss and anguish that – while personal, and entirely his own – still feels familiar and resonant with your own experiences (if you let it).
While I couldn’t tell you most of the lyrics this album – somehow, I don’t feel like I need to know in order to still understand and empathize and feel the raw emotion being conveyed.
Bon Iver also happens to be one of the most cohesive listening experiences I’ve found. The transitions between tracks are impeccable – nowhere is this more apparent than traveling from the first track, Perth, into Minnesota, WI.
Perth itself is such a dynamic track, lifting you instantly with its wistful, patient guitar strums and taking you on a wild journey to its denouement, scored by brass, drums, and distorted riffs, right into Minnesota, WI’s peaceful refuge. It’s as if you were caught in an unforgiving storm only to stumble upon shelter at the exact, opportune moment.
Later in the album, you’ll find yourself mentally stargazing as you float from the piano lines of Hinnom, TX into Wash. The melding of these more atmospheric tracks (Perth; Minnesota, WI, Wash.) and the album’s more traditionally arranged singles (Holocene; Towers, Michicant) make it an incredibly fluid and dynamic listening experience.
A lot of low-fi this month – across folk, hip-hop, even house. Songs to space out to. Distant, but present. An accurate representation of my mental state and emotions lately. Smooth rhythms over distorted sounds to keep you steady in a tumultuous time.
Someday (triple j Like a Version) by Julia Jacklin – a cover of The Strokes’ masterpiece. I definitely cried listening to this.
Paris by Becky and the Birds – will make you feel like as if you’ve risen to the heavens. Angelic vibes.
When Am I Gonna Lose You (Medasin Remix) by Local Natives – falling squarely in the camp of going hype while also (maybe) crying while dancing
ZTFO by Big Sean – from my favorite album of the month, Detroit 2. Need more of this energy for the rest of the year.
Million Dollar Bills by Lorde – an absolute banger from Pure Heroine. Re-listening and loving it.