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Watch DIIV’s Stripped-Down Cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘Ballad of Big Nothing’

DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith cites Elliott Smith as one of his three major influences (alongside Kurt Cobain and Johnny Thunders) and a driving force behind the band’s latest album Is the Is Are. (He even makes mention of an acoustic guitar previously owned by Smith gifted to him by girlfriend Sky Ferreira.) So, it’s only fitting then the band have now put their own spin on the late singer-songwriter’s catalog.

Cole Smith and bandmate Colin Caulfield delivered their rendition of Smith’s Either/Or cut “Ballad of Big Nothing” for Hero Magazine’s ongoing “Hero Sessions.” They stay true to Smith’s stripped-down repertoire; watch above and then compare it to the original at the bottom of the page.

“Elliott Smith was another huge influence on the way I recorded the vocals, tracked the vocals, the harmonies, the panning, just a lot about the way he wrote and delivered lyrics,” Cole Smith said of DIIV’s new album Is the Is Are, “that was big inspiration on the way I approached the vocals on this record.”

Is the Is Are is out now on Captured Tracks. You can buy it on CD, vinyl, cassette or digitally right here. DIIV are in the midst of a residency at the Echo in L.A., with more tour dates scheduled through May. See their itinerary here.

Elliott Smith, “Ballad of Big Nothing”

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