Perhaps its time to stop placing Bon Iver and Alina Simone in the Local category, but its not time to stop giving them any attention. And hey, we can still call John Darnielle our own right? All three cracked the top 100 of USATodays Pop Candy 2008 People of the Year poll, compiled by Whitney Matheson.
The purpose of USAToday’s Pop Candy is to “unwrap pop culture’s hip and hidden secrets." No secret to us or our listeners though, these three can all claim some citizenship to WKNC and the Triangle.
Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) comes from DeYarmond Edison, transplanted band from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Vernon left the band a year after moving to Raleigh, and Megafaun was born of the remaining members (Brad and Phil Cook, and Joe Westerlund). We are still thanking Justin for that, and also for his latest release For Emma, Forever Ago which has scorched the airwaves all over America in the past year (I still listen to "Blindsided” about once a day). Matheson put the band at #88 on her list with the kind words:
“The band, led by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, transfixed fans of all ages with a winning debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, and must-see live performances. ”
Look for Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP to hit the shelves January 20th (if you havnt already gotten an illegal copy that seems to have found its way to every wanna-be pirate website on the net- just google it).
Alina Simone claims to preside in Brooklyn, but we in North Carolina know better. Her unique brand of alternative folk/indie/ukrainish-punk (whatever it is) can be heard many times live throughout the Triangle during any given year. Lets all convince her to just move down permanently. Matheson made her #83 on the list saying:
“It’s true that I can’t decipher what Simone sings on her latest record, Everyone is Crying Out to Me Beware. But the singer’s emotions come through on this powerful tribute to Russian punk/folk musician Yanka Dyagileva. ”
Not familiar with John Darnielle? How about the Mountain Goats? Thats what I thought. Darnielle concieved the Durham based band in 1991 while in college in California. Interestingly enough, he didn’t make Matheson’s list for his music, but rather for his book Master of Reality. He is #79 on the list:
“While he’s best known for his band, The Mountain Goats, this year the musician grabbed my attention with his book about Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. Instead of delivering a dry history of the record for Continuum’s 33 1/3 series, he penned a moving, fictional account of a metal-loving teen trapped in a mental hospital. By the end, readers get a sense of why the music matters – and feel an overwhelming urge to spin some Sabbath.”
Matheson forgot to mention that Darnielle used to work as a psychiatric nurse.
As of today, there are still 50 more spots to go, and while I normally disregard polls such as this, its always nice to find those North Carolina gems getting some hard earned recgonition. So congrats!