Bon Iver delivers

By Acacia DiCiaccio

Courtesy of Bon Iver's Myspace

Bon Iver – “Bon Iver”

Released in June, Bon Iver’s new self-titled album proves to be an emotional roller coaster that will leave listeners with that goofy grin and a desire to ride it again and again.

The band utilized a new recording studio for the project. Lead singer Justin Vernon is quoted on the site thepageant.com saying that the new studio is “three miles from the house I grew up in, and just 10 minutes from the bar where my parents met.”

The creation location for the album perfectly emblematizes the feel of nostalgia that it brings. “Beth/Rest” sounds like an 80s slow dance track that should have already existed. Bonus track “I Can’t Make You Love Me/Nick of Time” is a Bonnie Raitt cover with a surprise twist that gives the notably downtrodden song a happy ending. Fans of folk and post-rock will be enthused to learn that Bon Iver’s sophomore album is ever better than its predecessor.

My Morning Jacket – “Circitual”

My Morning Jacket’s newest album, “Circitual,” strays from their mostly folk sound but never loses its roots. The title track takes listeners on a seven-minute ride through bass, drums and finally, a folksy guitar coupled with Jim James’ exuberant voice. The second single release, “Holdin’ on to Black Metal,” was inspired by a 60s Thai band and proves to be unlike anything else they have produced. “Outta My System” is a goofy query of young impulsions. “Circitual” may be one of My Morning Jacket’s best releases to date.

Bassnectar – “Divergent Spectrum”

Although not everyone enjoys the recent craze of “dubstep” music, it is evident that the bass-heavy new genre continues to gain popularity among young adults around the world. Dubstep could very well become the “disco” of our generation. Lorin Ashton’s one-man act Bassnectar is currently one of the biggest names in dubstep today, though confining Bassnectar to a single genre would be heresy. The electronic style of “Divergent Spectrum,” released in August, demonstrates the spectrum of electro beats that this artist can work with. “Immigraniada” is a remix of a track by the gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, and “Lights” remixes the number one U.K. singer Ellie Goulding into a trance.

Along with remixes of songs, Ashton utilizes samplings from previous Bassnectar recordings. While “Divergent Spectrum” reuses a lot of older stuff – like pieces from 2005’s “Mesmerizing the Ultra” – this latest album stays fresh and inventive.

Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”

Lady Gaga does it again with her second full-length album, “Born This Way,” which reached 1.1 million sales during its first week. “Born This Way” features an array of songs with infusions of 80s power pop, bass heavy electronic music, wailing guitars and a jazzy saxophone. Her themes dare to be edgy, sexy and even sacrilegious. Uproars over “Judas” and its blasphemous overtones, while perhaps credible, have not hindered Lady Gaga from being one of the biggest acts in music today. With “Born This Way,” Gaga has continued her legacy of songs that are so undeniably catchy that even hipsters cannot find it in themselves to dislike them.

Taking Back Sunday – “Taking Back Sunday”

The original band members of popular pop punk band Taking Back Sunday reunited this summer to release a self-titled album. “Taking Back Sunday” opens with an exuberant hard rock track entitled “El Paso” before mellowing out a bit, but the power never fades away altogether. While the band members are now in their thirties and no longer rebellious punk kids, the excessive energy that they have on stage still translates to the recordings. Taking Back Sunday is now beginning a second tour for the new album, and will be coming to Northampton with The Maine in October.

Acacia DiCiaccio can be reached at [email protected]