When: Fri., Sept. 6, 9 p.m. 2013
This collaboration between Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and his old Wisconsin pals Collections of Colonies of Bees made its first album, 2009’s Unmap, via piecemeal collaboration, largely accomplished by swapping digital files. Vernon’s distinctive falsetto made for an intriguing combination with the band’s jagged, distended architecture of abstract guitar and percussion—you’d never mistake it for the mellow, introspective sounds on For Emma, Forever Ago. This week Volcano Choir released Repave (Jagjaguwar), and it does away with the odd friction between Vernon and the band—the instrumentalists are now serving his style and songwriting. The record is more cohesive and song oriented, and though the music is just as layered and complex as before—Collections of Colonies of Bees still sound like themselves—it’s gorgeously fluid, so that it no longer feels spliced onto Vernon’s singing. That also means that Volcano Choir sounds a lot more like Bon Iver, except with an art-rock thrust instead of quasi-orchestral splendor. I think I prefer the older, more strained arrangement. —Peter Margasak Sylvan Esso opens.