Bon Iver has made available the digital version of their fourth studio album today, three weeks before the previously announced release date.
Earlier Thursday the band, led by Eau Claire native Justin Vernon, released eight more “i,i” individual tracks, which meant that 12 of the 13 songs became available online, excluding only the opener, “Yi.” Two songs, “Hey, Ma” and “U (Man Like),” were released June 2, and “Faith” and “Jelmore” came out July 10.
The physical release of the album still will be Friday, Aug. 30, according to an emailed statement from Shore Fire Media, a band representative.
The statement included the following information:
“Recorded mostly at Sonic Ranch in Texas, ‘i,i’ finds (Vernon) in a calmed creative state that he channels into the heart of each of the album’s 13 songs. The core band for the ‘i,i’ sessions included Sean Carey, Andrew Fitzpatrick, Mike Lewis, Matt McCaughan, and Justin Vernon with Rob Moose and Jenn Wasner, plus contributions from James Blake, Brad and Phil Cook, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Bruce Hornsby, Channy Leaneagh, Naeem Juwan, Velvet Negroni, Marta Salogni, Francis Starlite, Moses Sumney, TU Dance, and many others.”
Critical acclaim for the first four songs released also was noted, including the New York Times’ reference to the “unmistakable, just-before-dawn textures,” Time magazine declaring “haunts and welcomes: a good portent of the season to come,” and Vice’s comment that the new material “reminds us why Vernon is one of music’s most enduring figures.”
The album itself already has a five-star review in New Musical Express. Reviewer Hannah Mylrea wrote: “Over 12 years the music Justin Vernon has created as Bon Iver has constantly changed, but that doesn’t mean the old sounds have been undone; they’ve been repurposed and reused, evolving into something different — but always as compelling as the Bon Iver of yesteryear.”
The news on the “i,i” release came a day after the album was played during listening parties at 61 locations across the world, including at The Local Store in Eau Claire.
The current tour of Bon Iver includes shows Thursday, Oct. 3, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul; and Friday, Oct. 4, at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. Feist will perform with Bon Iver at both concerts.
To preorder “i,i” go to boniver.ffm.to/icommai. For concert tickets go to boniver.org/tour.
Vernon will perform as part of The Shouting Matches Saturday in downtown Eau Claire at the Oxbeaux III outdoor music event. Other members of the blues-roots-rock quartet are Phil Cook, Brian Moen and Jill Heinke Moen.