Elliott Smith – “Plainclothes Man (Solo Version)” (Stereogum Premiere)

The official soundtrack for the 2014 Elliott Smith documentary Heaven Adores You includes several previously unreleased tracks from the late, great singer-songwriter. One of those tracks is a solo version of Smith’s Heatmiser track “Plainclothes Man,” which appeared in louder, more aggressive form on the band’s final album, Mic City Sons. Soundtrack superviser Kevin Moyer shared some thoughts on Smith’s transition into a singer-songwriter context:

I think Elliott was rebelling against his own sound at the time. I don’t think it was anything personal and it was just his way of moving on probably, as he wasn’t always the best with closure. At the time it was the rise of grunge and heavy and loud sound and Heatmiser was there at the top of the heap and I think he just got tired of it. So he stripped it all down and just began performing by himself alone on stage sitting on a folding chair and strumming an acoustic guitar. At the time, that was not the popular thing to do. I mean, that’s punk right there — to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing, and to do it all alone by yourself with nothing to hide behind. It’s kind of like the opposite of when Bob Dylan plugged in and went electric.

Listen below.

Tracklist:
01 “Untitled Guitar Finger Picking” [1983]
02 “Untitled Melancholy Song” [1993]
03 “Don’t Call Me Billy” [early version of “Fear City”] [1993]
04 “Christian Brothers” [performed with Heatmiser] [1995]
05 “Hamburgers” [performed with Neil Gust] [1995]
06 “Plainclothes Man” [Elliott solo version] [1996]
07 “Unknown Song (instrumental)” [1994]
08 “Say Yes” [live at Yo Yo Festival 1997] [1997]
09 “Unknown (instrumental)” [1994]
10 “Coast To Coast” [early version] [1995-96]
11 “Waltz #1″ (demo) [1997]
12 “Untitled Soft Song In F” [1993]
13 “True Love” [2001]
14 “Miss Misery” [live on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien”] [1998]
15 “L.A.” [1999]
16 “Son Of Sam” (acoustic) [1999]
17 “The Last Hour” [early version] [1999]
18 “Everything Means Nothing To Me” [1999]
19 “Happiness” [1999]
20 “I Love My Room” [1984-85]

The Heaven Adores You soundtrack is out 2/5 on UMe. Pre-order it here.