The impact of Elliott Smith’s music holds no bounds. To commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of his self-titled second solo album, Kill Rock Stars is set to release the Elliott Smith: Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition worldwide this Friday, August 28. In honor of the release, Kill Rock Stars has released a brand new lyric video for the newly remastered smash single “Needle In The Hay”. “As the person who originally signed him to the label, starting with the Needle In The Hay single and this self-titled album, I am especially passionate about putting forward reminders of this phase of his career – his magic as a solo performer and as a writer of songs for simply guitar and voice with little or no accompaniment. I also really want him to be remembered for his humor, warmth, and absurdist sense of irony,” says Kill Rock Stars founder Slim Moon. Today also marks the first time the Elliott Smith cover art photograph is revealed, while the original album version is an artful photocopied manipulation.
Smith’s joy and connection to the creative community in Portland, his home at the time, is beautifully documented by the photos and reminiscences in this new package. It includes a remastered Elliott Smith (1995) reissue and previously unreleased Live at Umbra Penumbra bonus disc of the earliest known recording of Smith performing as a solo act. These two records come encased within a 52-page coffee table book with handwritten lyrics & reminiscences as well as and two dozen previously unseen photographs from the era by JJ Gonson.
Elliott Smith has been championed, covered, and sampled by artists from Billie Eilish to Pearl Jam to Frank Ocean and his distinct, solemn sound reverberates in the work of The National, Phoebe Bridgers and Bon Iver. Most recently, Palehound shared an outstanding rendition of Smith’s beloved “Southern Belle” — as part of a Kill Rock Stars cover series ft. Califone, Shaylee, Team Dresch, Bonny Light Horsemen and more — following the release of previous package single “Song Song” (Live at Umbra Penumbra) and “Big Decision” (Live at Umbra Penumbra).
For this release, producer/engineer Larry Crane, the official archivist for the Smith family, dug through files, reels, cassettes, and DAT tapes to find the closest sources to the original Elliott Smith first-generation mix downs and spent days to carefully transfer and clean up the audio from the Umbra Penumbra high-quality cassette provided by Casey Crynes. “There are fan-traded MP3s out there of this show, but when people hear what I was able to extract from this original tape, they’ll be shocked,” says Crane.