Sharon Van Etten has released the second track from her double album celebrating her 2010 LP epic. The double album includes the original record and an LP of covers of her songs by other artists. Last week she released Big Red Machine’s version of “A Crime”, and this week, IDLES, my favourite boys from Bristol, take the spotlight with their cover of “Peace Signs”. And it’s a stormer.
Joe’s singing, Jon’s drumming and the whole band’s thundering performance turn Sharon’s sweet indie-folk melody into a chilling punk anthem, totally making it their own without compromising Sharon’s intent for a second.
epic Ten is out digitally on April 16 and physically on June 11 via Ba Da Bing. Each Thursday leading up to epic Ten’s release, Van Etten will share the album’s next cover song. Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams, Big Red Machine, Courtney Barnett with Vagabon, and more also feature.
Van Etten has also announced epic Ten: the documentary and concert to benefit the Los Angeles venue, Zebulon. The film, which streams April 16 and 17, features Van Etten and her band performing epic in its entirety at Zebulon.
“epic represents a crossroads for me as an artist,” Sharon explains. “Going from intern to artist at Ba Da Bing, from solo folk singer to playing with a band for the first time and beginning to play shows on tour where people showed up. I am in awe of the artists who wanted to participate in celebrating my anniversary and reissue, from young inspiring musicians, to artists who took me under their wing, who I met on tour, and to artists I’ve looked up to since I was a teenager. Each one of these artists continue to influence my writing and provide a sense of camaraderie during this new era of sharing music.”
Sharon shared how IDLES became involved in the project:
“I first met IDLES, randomly, at a brunch spot in Brooklyn while having a family & friends hang 2018. They were with our friend Tim who releases their music on Partisan Records. We met in passing, they seemed super sweet and we crossed paths again a year later at Glastonbury where I got to see them perform the day before my set, from afar. Their energy leaped over the crowd and into my heart. To stand apart in a festival is not easy. You could feel their sweat from the other side of the field. It left a mark. Then for festival season, we pretty much got to run into each other for about a week or two in the height of summer at Green Man, Lowlands, Pukkelpop… watching best friends having the best time under different circumstances every night and conveying positive messages through the angst of being a human being. One might not get the connection between our music, but as performers – and people – they were inspiring and magnetic. We kept in touch over social media after we bonded during those festivals, talked of family, tour, the balance… and after COVID hit, Joe, the singer, reached out to see if I would be a part of a talk show he started during this time. Getting his bandmates Danny and Ishmael Butler as additional guests to talk about current events as well as what they are going through personally, with a bit of silliness (free therapy? virtual pub?) added to the equation – I felt compelled to participate. Even though we are from different “worlds”, I feel very connected to IDLES and I hope they feel the same way. When I hear them covering “Peace Signs”, I hear another voice of mine deep from within. Special thanks to IDLES for coming into my world and making it theirs… and ours. X”
Listen to Sharon’s original version here. Which do you prefer?