I am a self-proclaimed Internet Music Troll. I troll the internet looking for new and fantastic music constantly. Sometimes I find a band that I dig so much that I'm upset with myself because I should have found them sooner. Today that band is Bison.
Virginia's Bison are not to be confused with the Canadian stoner/doom metal band Bison B.C. This Bison plays what they dub "mountain-top chamber music". Now, I'm always amused and amazed when bands come up with new and unique was to describe their sound. Sometimes, unfortunately, the music is not as good or as fitting as the unique description would have you believe. That's not the case here. Their debut album, Quill, which was originally released in September of last year is one of the best albums of its kind that I've heard in a long time.
With the rising popularity of bands like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver the whole indie folk scene/sound has given birth to a lot of bands just trying to imitate a successful formula, as it happens in every genre. But Bison stands far and away above a lot of the competition. This seven piece outfit creates their own new take on indie folk by combining classical elements with rich Appalachian and European folk traditions and indie rock sensibilities. For example the opening violin interlude on the song "Iscariot" reminds me of something that maybe Prokofiev would have penned into one of his pieces. Other tracks for example hearken back to days when Irish immigrant workers sat around campfires singing the traditional songs of their homeland.
It really seems to me that what this band has is something that clearly most bands of this ilk lack and that's a true understanding of their historical musical roots. Bison hail from the Chesapeake region of Virginia. For those who don't know, the entire Southeastern portion of Virginia is one of the most historically rich parts of our nation. When I listen to Bison I feel like all of the history in their backyard is alive in their music. To me it's what makes it beautiful and special and sets them apart from their peers. It's music that has perfectly combined the authenticity of today's indie folk movement with elements of forgotten times, places and people. This album is highly recommended for fans of any type of traditional/folk/country/indie rock hybrid.