pass it on {04.10.08}

indefinite hiatus, thank you to all that have been reading the blog, please stay safe & sound.

Love, team cameracrowd

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Upcoming Release: Elliott Smith's New Moon

It's so good to hear your voice again, Elliott.
We miss you.

The double-disc album named New Moon will release this Tuesday and is a collection of the late Elliott Smith's songs from 1994~1997. That was during the time when he was still in Heatmiser, but started gaining more attention for his solo work, back when he was still signed on Kill Rock Stars. These recordings could have ended up in any of his three albums he released during this time period: Roman Candle, his self-titled album or Either/Or. Larry Crane, Elliott Smith's friend, editor of Tape-Op magazine and owner of Jackpot! Recording Studio became the official archivist of the many recordings Elliott Smith left behind and is the one to thank for giving the rest of the world such a beautiful collection.

Each disc has 12 songs and includes many of the songs that were leaked online a year ago, referred by many though incorrectly(considering the songs were recorded much earlier than From A Basement On The Hill) as Basement II. The songs on New Moon sound just like what Elliott Smith would have done in the studio, in line with his usual no fuss, lo-fi recording style. The songs were left mostly untouched except for some additional light EQ and compression. Here is a clip from a Glono interview with Larry Crane on the studio work:

"Most of the ones that were tracked on the 8-track 1/2" machine were pretty well done, the same as tracks from Elliott Smith or Either/Or. I was really just balancing the mix and adding very simple, light EQ or compression to some tracks. Nothing fancy or over-the-top."
The album is a digipak, with extensive liner notes that include details on where and when each song was recorded. Also in the album sleeve are filled with words depicting fond memories of Elliott and his music from Larry Crane, Sam Coomes, Christopher O'Riley and Sean Croghan. A portion of the proceeds will go towards Outside In, a social service organization based in Portland, OR that helps low-income adults and homeless youths.

Out of the 24 tracks on New Moon are two completely new, unreleased songs:, "All Cleaned Out" and "First Timer". Both songs and an early version of what would become "Miss Misery" were from the Jackpot! recording sessions in 1997. "All Cleaned Out" is a hard acoustic-driven song that is just heart-wrenching, I've rarely heard his voice so hardened, unlike his usual whispery style: "Here comes your pride and joy/the comic little drunk/you call your boy/making everybody smile/who takes your pretty plan/and then becomes a disappearing man/after a little while..."

The early version of "Miss Misery" has a set of different lyrics and "Go By" now has lyrics, whereas the leaked version was an instrumental version. The three songs "Angel In The Snow", "See You Later" and "Big Decision" have been officially released, but only on compilations. The Big Star/Alex Chilton cover of "Thirteen" is an earlier recording than the one on the Thumbsucker's soundtrack. It's hard to get through sometimes, his voice shakes and slides off tune on occasion and reminds me of the feeling that people tried to describe when they were at some of his live performances.

The song I keep going back to is "Pretty Mary K (Other Version)" on disc two, track nine. It is a totally different song than the one we know on Figure 8. No instrumentation is added here, except faint background drums and it has different lyrics and a different melody. It has a haunting melody, like how "Independence Day" and "Condor Ave." feels. There's also a different version of Heatmiser's "Half Right" on there without drums.

The only song that Larry Crane combined different takes was "New Disaster", including a vocal take from one reel and the instrumental take from a later reel with organ and drums that he thought was meant to be put together, but Elliott just never got around to it.

"Almost Over" is a brilliant example of his unique guitar work, just listen to it, it'll bowl you over! Throughout all the songs there are his classic double vocals and additional echoes. He's most known for intricate melodies and tricky chord progressions. New Moon is a great collection of songs meant to reveal and share more of Elliott's work in the 1994~1997 period, that could have very well been left buried and unheard, but thank goodness we have Larry Crane to dig through and preserve his tapes and cassettes.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Elliott Smith's past work, here's an anniversary post from last year that touches on his discography and hopefully convinces you to get acquainted with the music by one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time.

{We usually put three or more songs for upcoming releases, but for this one only "High Times" will be featured as a download, since it's the only one that's been officially given to the public to preview the album. I'm sure other blogs will offer other songs off this album, but what I sure hope is that you'll buy this album, if you already have some of his albums or if you're completely new/have downloaded a handful of his songs, please read that post I recommended and start with Either/Or , sorry for such a long read.}


New Moon | Elliott Smith
(Kill Rock Stars/Domino)

Disc One
  1. Angel In The Snow
  2. Talking To Mary
  3. High Times
  4. New Monkey
  5. Looking Over My Shoulder
  6. Going Nowhere
  7. Riot Coming
  8. All Cleaned Out
  9. First Timer
  10. Go By
  11. Miss Misery (Early Version)
  12. Thirteen
Disc Two
  1. Georgia, Georgia
  2. Whatever (Folk Song In C)
  3. Big Decision
  4. Placeholder
  5. New Disaster
  6. Seen How Things Are Heard
  7. Fear City
  8. Either/Or
  9. Pretty Mary K (Other Version)
  10. Almost Over
  11. See You Later
  12. Half Right

In other related news:

The lovely music photographer, Autumn De Wilde, who took unforgettable images of Elliott and was one of Elliott's close friends is putting together a book titled Elliott Smith. It's full of her photographs of Elliott, handwritten lyrics, a 5-track live CD of his performance at LA's Largo and conversations with his close friends/musicians, including Joanna Bolme, Ben Gibbard, Chris Walla, Jon Brion, Rob Schnapf, Neil Gust, Sam Coomes and more.

A portion of the proceeds will go towards the Sims Foundation in Austin and Portland's Outside In. It is available for pre-order on Amazon for $19.77 and it's slated to release in October or November of this year. I really cannot wait for this one to come out and I know it'll be definitely something worth buying, right now there's only one biography of Elliott that I know of and that's Elliott Smith And the Big Nothing by Benjamin Nugent.

Also, there is another interesting project called 33 1/3, it's a book series attempting to cover important/seminal music albums and Elliott Smith's XO was selected and will be written by Matthew Lemay. It's due out sometime in spring of 2009, so sit tight. Here's an affiliated blog that has the other featuring records listed so far.

Stream + Download + Purchase:

High Times| Elliott Smith


<<< Pre-order New Moon
>>> Sweet Adeline: Official Elliott Smith Site
<<< Read John Mulvey's thoughts on New Moon
>>> GLONO Interview with Larry Crane
<<< Pre-order Autumn De Wilde's book Elliott Smith
>>> List of featured albums on the 33 1/3 project
<<< Sweet Addy Forum, Larry Crane answers questions



Shadows said...

i ran into this blog while lookin for pictures of audrey tautou. nice sitee. drop by mine if ur free.

have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

thank you for this great post on Elliott Smith. he really is an amazing songwriter.