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Grownass Man

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Album Review

Grownass Man, the debut from longtime friends Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Phil Cook (Megafaun), and Brian Moen (Peter Wolf Crier), finds the indie folk heroes/steadfast Wisconsinites morphing into a surprisingly competent blues-rock trio. Far removed from the troglodyte roots rock of Kings of Leon and the slick, overdriven, R&B-kissed alt-rock of the Black Keys, the Shouting Matches seem to have no actual agenda other than spending the afternoon in the basement playing as loud as possible and then remembering to clear off the cans of beer from the tops of their amps before packing them in the van for the gig later. Vernon's ubiquitous falsetto, which made such an impact on Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, is all but vanquished on Grownass Man, appearing for only a few brief moments on the soulful, slow-burn closer "I Need a Change," and replaced elsewhere by a meaty, gritty croon that can go from stoic and pained to Stax-fueled howl in a matter of seconds. The band keeps things refreshingly simple, whether storming through the gates of hell, as is the case on the Physical Graffiti-era Led Zeppelin-kissed "Heaven Knows" (not a cover of Robert Plant's quasi-mystical 1988 stadium jam of the same name), or basking in the glow of the savior amidst the church organ-driven, gospel shuffle of "New Theme," and while they don't always land the punch square in the face (like a lot of blues instrumentals, the meandering "Three Dollar Bill" isn't half as fun to listen to as it probably was to play), they never miss their mark.

Customer Reviews

Breath of fresh air

This is such a refreshing album. Modern blues deserves to live. You can clearly hear the mood of a man just having a great time with friends. Bravo, Mr Vernon.

Fear Not Music Lovers

Wow. All this talk about modern blues is absolutely right. Justin Vernon and this trio have given life to a genre of music rarely given the credit it deserves. I was a bit skeptical at first, since this is a departure from Bon Iver and Vernon's well known style of music, but I was absolutely blown away by the quality of this album. My two favorites are Seven Sisters and I Need A Change. I think we see a side of Justin he can't express in Bon Iver, not to mention we get to hear his voice outside of the falsetto we're used to, which to be honest I think I prefer when he doesn't sing in a falsetto (listen to his old stuff and you'll see, Hazletons, and DeYarmond Edison, and his self titled album tracks). Expect more to come as well, he's made an effort to make it very clear that this is not a side-project as many people believe it to be. This may very well be the kind of music we hear from him from now on, which I would be absolutely okay with.

Fat Possum flashback!

Fans of Bon Iver, Peter Wolf Crier, and Megafaun might be a bit surprised by this album. The overall sound and vibe fits more within the 1998-2005 Fat Possum Records cataloge than with the previously mentioned bands. This is a great alt blues/rock album that fans of JSBX's Matador releases, early Black Keys, and pre major label White Stripes will love.


Formed: 2006 in Eau Claire, WI

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '10s

Formed in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 2006 by Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon, Phil Cook of Megafaun, and Brian Moen of Peter Wolf Crier, the Shouting Matches specialize in a sort of low-key, roots-fueled blues-rock that owes more to Tom Petty than it does the lonesome, lovelorn indie folk of Vernon's meal-ticket...
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Grownass Man, The Shouting Matches
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Customer Ratings