When indie band Bon Iver won Best New Artist, the minds behind the blog “Who is Bon Iver” were surely delighted: It meant plenty of fodder for their Tumblr, which preys on the confusion of fans who have never heard of the soft-spoken rock act.
Sure enough, Twitter quickly lit up with disgruntled Skrillex and Nicki Minaj fans who had no idea who Bon Iver was. “Lol and best new artist...... BonIver.... Who? Lol” tweeted @scottspeed. “Bon Iver who r u?” tweeted @haileybaldwin. “Who was that guy? Bon Iver?” tweeted @Paige_Duke.
For the uninitiated, Bon Iver is a band from Eau Claire, Wis., and folks who don’t know their music on its own may have heard of them from their collaboration with Kanye West as supporting vocalists on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” Bon Iver’s confusion also inspired a YouTube mashup from a group that called itself Bon Joviver, playing off Twitter users conflating the band with Bon Jovi.
Washington Post music critic Chris Richards reviewed Bon Iver’s self-titled album in June, calling it, “amorphous and triumphant — a haze of acoustic guitars, airy synthesizers and tumbling drums floating beneath Vernon’s hallucinogenic yowl, like two stratus clouds overlapping in a dream.”
Those who did know the band praised frontman Justin Vernon for his humble acceptance speech. “It’s hard to accept because when I started to make songs, I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here,” he said. “I want to say thank you to all of the nominees, to all of the non-nominees that have never been here and never will be here, all the bands I toured with, all of the bands that inspired me.”
Last year, a Grammy win inspired similar confusion and a spin-off blog when Arcade Fire won Album of the Year, beating out Lady Gaga, Eminem and Katy Perry. Fans took to Twitter to ask about the band, even though they had been making records for years. Who is Arcade Fire? chronicled their anguish.
More on the 2012 Grammy Awards: