Music by VICE

Hear a New EP from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and The National's Aaron Dessner

Big Red Machine's four-song debut came out this morning on Vernon and Dessner's new streaming platform, PEOPLE. There's also a Sufjan Stevens-featuring cover of Leonard Cohen's "Memories" in a trove of new material.

by Alex Robert Ross
Jun 6 2018, 3:32pm

L: Jordi Vidal/Redferns via Getty Images
R: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Bon Iver auteur Justin Vernon, The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and Berlin-based entrepreneurs Tom and Nadine Michelberger launched a new online music streaming service this morning. PEOPLE is pitched as a home for collaborative projects, outtakes, demos, and other musical ephemera—a service seemingly less rigid than Spotify but more selective than SoundCloud. Bryce Dessner tried to explain it in an interview published at The Guardian this morning. "It’s trying to deformalize some of the artifice and structure that goes into releasing music," he said, "and to get a little bit closer to the creative and collaborative process, and to the people.”

Whatever that will come to mean in practice—and the quotes in the Guardian piece suggest that Vernon and the Dessners aren't entirely sure either—PEOPLE already has a wealth of new music to dig through. The main project is Big Red Machine, a collaboration between Aaron Dessner and Vernon that's been in the works for a while. It's loose and mostly gentle—a minimal approach to the grooves and glitches that The National and Bon Iver have weaved together on recent projects.

"In 2008, Aaron sent Justin an instrumental sketch of a song called "Big Red Machine" for [charity compilation LP] Dark Was The Night," a note at PEOPLE reads. "This was before they had met in person. Justin wrote a song to it, interpreting the Big Red Machine title as a heart. 10 years of friendship later, there are 10 more songs." Only four of those are up today: "Forest Green," "Lyla," "Gratitude," and "Hymnostic." Listen to them all here.

Elsewhere, Sufjan Stevens, Matt Berninger, and a host of others join the Dessners for a swooning cover of Leonard Cohen's Death of a Ladies Man cut "Memories." There's a new song from Minneapolis synth-pop band Poliça; This Is the Kit has a new version of "Easy Pickings" with contributions from the Berlin-based orchestra Stargaze; and euphoric noise-rock troupe Marijuana Deathsquads contribute two new songs. It's worth taking a day to sift through. Do so here.

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The national
Bon Iver
justin vernon
sufjan stevens
aaron Dessner
Bryce Dessner
This is the Kit