In a piece posted today, a day a quarter of the way into the year 2014 Anno Domini, T Magazine—which is “The New York Times style magazine—informs its readers about this Justin Vernon fellow, who apparently made some type of album in a cabin near Eau Claire in 2007. (Maybe you’ve heard of it?) Some seven years later, with a different President of the United States of America midway through his second term, and Vernon’s third Bon Iver release netting a Grammy before the project was all but abandoned for other creative ventures, T figured it was the perfect moment to highlight Wisconsin’s burgeoning indie music scene by talking about a project that may or may not still exist.
Okay, the single-paragraph reduction of an entire state’s musical climate actually expends more words discussing Vernon’s April Base Studios, which the Bon Iver mastermind started in western Wisconsin, at least in part, to record in-state acts (after brazenly ignoring the indie rock mandate to immediately relocate to a quaint loft in Bed-Stuy because Pitchfork wrote something nice about him). The post also goes on to mention some great, actually active Badger States bands, including Milwaukee’s own Field Report, Hugh Bob And The Hustle, and Vic And Gab; Bon Iver alumnus S. Carey; The Daredevil Christopher Wright; other Vernon vehicles Volcano Choir and The Shouting Matches; and (WAMI champs!) Phox.
And what would a piece of national acknowledgement about Wisconsin be without sweeping generalizations regarding cheese, taxidermy, and some Los Angeles-based beer? All in all, Justin Vernon is doing great things to prop up Wisconsin music, and Times-affiliated recognition is a tremendous thing for lesser-known in-state acts. Hopefully this irresponsibly broad bit of national press will help some of these bands get more coverage beyond state lines—perhaps without the requisite Bon Iver cabin mention or the cheap cheese and beer fodder next time around.