Music

Bon Iver’s ‘Holocene’ Started As This Justin Vernon Song: Hear It Now

On Aug. 18, Jagjaguwar will release a five-album boxset titled Epoch, which will include unreleased music along with a 114-page story on the short-lived indie-rock band DeYarmond Edison. The four-piece act boasted Joe Westerlund and Phil and Brad Cook, all of whom later formed the psych-folk band Megafaun, along with Justin Vernon, who went on to form and front Bon Iver.

On Thursday (June 22), a new two-pack single from the forthcoming release has arrived: “Hazelton B/W Liner.” The stunning and stripped-down songs laid the groundwork for what ultimately became the Bon Iver standout “Holocene,” off the band’s second album, Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

“Hazelton B/W Liner” is not only the oldest song that would become part of Bon Iver’s catalog — Vernon first recorded it between July 2005-May 2006 for his third solo album, Hazeltons — but also arguably the song that caused DeYarmond Edison to split. One month after Vernon’s Hazeltons arrived (released only on CD, with just 100 hand-numbered copies made), DeYarmond Edison played its final show. Less than one year later, both Bon Iver and Megafaun would release its respective debut albums.

Hazeltons will be one of the five LPs included in Epoch. The physical edition will include an exclusive live version of “Hazelton” that Vernon recorded with Aaron and Bryce Dessner in Paris. The box set’s other albums include All of Us Free, recorded between November 1998-July 2005 when DeYarmond Edison was a group of high schoolers making music as Mount Vernon; Silent Signs, DeYarmond Edison’s second studio album that has been remastered and pressed to vinyl for the first time; Epoch, Etc., which chronicles the band’s move from Eau Claire to Raleigh; and Where We Belong, which houses buried treasures found after the band’s breakup.

As the box set’s executive producer and biographer says of Epoch as a whole, “This is the sound of sorting through an overabundance of new info, mostly for yourself. And, even in the rather fraught process, finding out just where it is you’ve been headed your whole life.”

Listen to “Hazelton B/W Liner” below.

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