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Download a previously unreleased Elliott Smith track: Cecilia/Amanda

December 15, 2009

In celebration of their announcement that they’ll be re-releasing Elliott Smith’s albums Roman Candle and From a Basement on the Hill in April, Kill Rock Stars is giving away a previously unreleased Elliott Smith track, ‘Cecillia/Amanda.’  Whoa! Christmas came early!

Download or stream it below and if you have a moment, let me know which Elliott Smith song is your favorite and why in the comments.

Elliott Smith – Cecilia/Amanda

For the unforgettable clip of him performing ‘Miss Misery’ at the 1998 Grammy Awards as well as his New York Times obituary, continue reading below…

October 23, 2003

By JON PARELES

Elliott Smith, whose songs of despair and self-doubt made him a luminary of independent rock and earned him an Academy Award nomination, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 34.

His body was found by his girlfriend at their home in the Silver Lake section of the city, with a single stab wound that was apparently self-inflicted, according to The Associated Press, which quoted the coroner’s office.

Mr. Smith reached his largest audience when he performed “Miss Misery,” the song he wrote for “Good Will Hunting,” on the Academy Awards telecast in 1998.

But for much of the 1990’s, he was widely heard on college radio stations and on the club circuit, where he was admired for his delicately harrowing songs and, on his first albums, for the intimacy of his recordings.

In his songs, he wrote about drug abuse, failing relationships, betrayals and occasional glimmers of hope. His sense of melody harked back to the Beatles and to folk-rock, but within the understated settings were bleak stories of turmoil, addiction, domestic violence and despair.

Mr. Smith often insisted he was not a confessional songwriter, but he had struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism and had spent a short time in a psychiatric hospital. “Miss Misery” begins, “I will fake it through the day with some help from Johnnie Walker Red/Send the poison brain down the drain/To put bad thoughts in my head.”

Elliott Smith’s real name was Steven Paul Smith. He was born in Omaha and grew up in Dallas and in Portland, Ore. He studied piano and guitar and at 10 won a local award for a piano piece he composed. He began writing songs as a teenager. He also started calling himself Elliott because, he once said, Steve Smith was too alliterative and Steve sounded too “jockish.” He graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., and returned to Portland, where he and a college friend, Neil Gust, started a punk band called Heatmiser, named after a character in the Christmas cartoon “The Year Without Santa Claus.”

The group released its first album, “Dead Air,” in 1993 on the small Frontier label, and disbanded after releasing its third album, “Mic City Sons” (Caroline), in 1996. In Heatmiser, Mr. Smith and Mr. Gust shared songwriting and lead vocals.

Mr. Smith began recording his own songs in quiet, homemade versions that revolved around his acoustic guitar.

His first solo album, “Roman Candle” (Cavity Search), noted that it was “recorded on four-track in the basement fall 1993.” His next two albums, “Elliott Smith” and “either/or,” both on the Kill Rock Stars label, made him a college-radio staple, and he regularly toured the indie-rock circuit.

The director Gus Van Sant chose Mr. Smith to write songs for the soundtrack of “Good Will Hunting,” and “Miss Misery” was nominated for best original song. (Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” won the award.) With the soundtrack, Mr. Smith began recording his songs with producers and backup musicians. He was signed to DreamWorks Records, which released the albums “XO” in 1998 and “Figure 8” in 2000, and toured internationally. Mr. Smith had been working on his sixth album, tentatively titled “From a Basement on the Hill,” but his last release was a limited-edition seven-inch vinyl single, “Pretty (Ugly Before),” for the independent Suicide Squeeze label.

He is survived by his parents, Gary Smith and Bunny Welch, a sister, a half sister and a half brother.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. becca darling permalink
    December 15, 2009 7:13 pm

    thanks for this song, this is great.
    my favorite elliott smith song would have to be ‘twilight’, but i don’t have a great reason why.
    fun fact: one of my film teachers was a friend of his at hampshire.

  2. December 31, 2009 2:06 pm

    Thanks for download link!!!
    Happy 2010

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