Kill Rock Stars now successfully owns the back catalog all of Elliott Smith's independent solo records with the recent acquisition of "Roman Candle" and "From a Basement on the Hill." To celebrate, the indie label mainstay is re-releasing both titles on April 6 and is giving away a free, previously unreleased track from Smith. Sweet deal, right? Stream the track below, download here.
The latter album was released five scant years ago by ANTI- and comprised of the last recordings made by the late great Smith before his death in 2003.
The former album, Smith's first as a solo artist apart from his band Heatmiser, originally hit shelves back in 1994, via Cavity Search Records. Smith archivist and longtime collaborator Larry Crane did a little bit of remastering work on this set: “The intention that I had was to make the album more listenable. I felt that a lot of the guitar “squeaks” were jarring and very loud, and that many of the hard consonants and “S” sounds were jarring and scratchy sounding," Crane said in a statement. "Please note that none of this album is “remixed” from the master tapes – it is still composed of the mixes Elliott created himself.”
So there you have it: diehards who love the squeals in "Roman Candle," beware. But at least you'll be able to have it on vinyl in the U.S. for the first time ever.
Crane also recorded the aforementioned unreleased track "Cecilia/Amanda" in 1997. He says the song was written by Smith's high school band, but the lyrics went on to be rewritten entirely for the session. Stream below.
Kill Rock Stars now is home to "Roman Candle," "Elliott Smith," "Either/Or," "From a Basement on the Hill," and rarities/B-sides/demos double-disc compilation "New Moon." Only "XO" and "Figure 8" are outside of their backcatalog, as those late-career releases were put out by now-defunct DreamWorks Records, to be absorbed later by Geffen.
Smith died from stab wounds to the heart and, while it's widely thought he committed suicide, the investigation has deemed the mode of his death inconclusive.