Elliott Smith – New Moon

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Elliott Smith hasn’t been with us for almost 5 years now, so when I heard there was a new Elliott Smith album coming out I kind of freaked. My first thought was that the bastard faked his death and if that was the case I was about to hunt his ass down and…I don’t know, slap him maybe. Then I quickly remembered that there was a ton of rarities and unreleased material that Elliott’s family and the record company were in a tangle over what to do with. This newest release entitled New Moon is 24 songs that never made the final cut to an album between the years of 1994 and 1997. Those were the good years. Elliott was signed with the indie label Kill Rock Stars and put out 2 of his best works, his self titled album and the semi-popular Either/Or. Everything on New Moon was from that time period. There is word of another release due in November of this year for the rarities after that time period that are owned by a different label but that is still up in the air. As for this release, I couldn’t be happier. Some of the tracks have been played live before, showing up in bootlegs every now and again like “Thirteen”, the delightful tune about young lovers and “Placeholder”. Out of the 24 songs on this compilation, I’m glad that 20 of them didn’t make the cut on their respective releases. If I heard these songs without knowing anything about Elliott Smith, I doubt I would have enjoyed any of them. However, after years of getting to know Elliott through both his lyrics and interviews it makes it that much easier to get into these tracks that hold so much more character than most of his released music which, is obviously saying a lot. And though most of his work sounds like thoughts spilling off of Elliott’s chest, this collection of songs has a different feel to it. Almost like they weren’t intended to be part of an album, they were merely a way for him to release. The version of “Miss Misery” blew me away. Though it is not as crafty as the original Oscar nominated version, it is interesting to see where the thoughts developed from. Same goes for “Pretty Mary K”, a track that was release on the Figure 8 album under a completely different melody, entirely different in its original form. One song that stands out to me is “New Monkey”. Late in Elliott’s life he bought a studio which he wanted to use antique recording machines to capture that old essence that is lacking in so many modern records. The name of the studio is New Monkey Studio, probably adapted from the song title. I noticed another interesting piece of trivia while I was listening to the track “Looking Over my Shoulder”. Elliott says “I ran down to the corner lot, its forty five past two, I almost forgot to show.” Most lines take a few listens to click in my head, but this one stood out mostly because “2:45 AM” is one of my favorite tracks from Either/Or. I can assume that it is tied into the Either/Or classic in one way or another. As a whole, this album is genius, but not for a casual fan. If you know little Elliott Smith, I would suggest starting somewhere else. Anywhere else really. This album is not his best material by any means. It is simply a few tracks that didn’t make the cut 10 years ago that diehard fans will appreciate. If you are an Elliott fan, this album will make you fall head over heels all over again.

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New Monkey

High Times

Miss Misery (Early Version)

 

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~ by dtags21 on May 13, 2007.

2 Responses to “Elliott Smith – New Moon”

  1. Hi there! Stumbled here from Amplify’s spot. Great looking website you have here, good good music as well!

  2. Been listening to side one non-stop for about two months now. There’s much to love, and there are maybe one or two songs on this side that could have been left off, I wouldn’t have voted even for that. There’s much magic, and the world, once again, is better off for more Elliott.

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