A number of notable Portland bands cover the late singer/songwriter on To: Elliott From: Portland, out early next year. This is a confirmed songlist, but the track order is TBA:
1) The Decemberists – Clementine
2) Helio Sequence – Satellite
3) The Thermals – Ballad of Big Nothing
4) Crosstide – Angeles
5) Amelia – Between the Bars
6) Dolorean – The Biggest Lie
7) Sexton Blake – Rose Parade
8) Swords – I Didn’t Understand
9) Sean Croghan – High Times
10) Lifesavas – Happiness
11) Jeff Trott Wouldn¹t Mama Be Proud
12) Society of People of Ambiance and Elegance – Speed Trials
13) To Live and Die in LA – Kings Crossing
14) We Are Telephone – Division Days
15) Eric Matthews – Needle in the Hay
“High Times” is a previously unreleased Smith song. Sean Crogan, Elliott’s friend and former roommate, explains the selection in the liner notes:
“After Elliott died I spent a lot of time listening to these tapes he had given me of his various recordings he made at home. ‘High Times’ hit me like a brick in the face. I recalled him playing the song live, years earlier, but I had never heard the recorded version. The song itself is a story, ultimately prophetic in regard to Elliott’s relationship with drugs, of some soul here in Portland (oh yes it reeks of this city) trying to cop for the first time. … I wanted to try to create the tension I felt in the lyrics, the sense of a fate that is unavoidable and catastrophic. Even as the protagonist is telling us ‘I feel fine’ it is obvious he has given in and the ride to hell has started, albeit on a fluffy pink cloud. Hopefully we recreated the anxiety, the feeling of Burnside with its pushers, homeless, and drunks, the sound of Portland in the 80s and 90s before developers tried to turn Portland into Disneyland.”
Looking for a live MP3 of “High Times” for you guys. In the meantime, here’s a boot of the song that first got me into Elliott.
Elliott Smith – “Angeles (Live At Studion, Stockholm)” (MP3) (Deep link to No Name #3 MP3 removed per request of site owner.)
That whole Stockholm whole show is available at No Name #3. (Deep link to No Name #3 MP3 removed per request of site owner…bandwidth ain’t free. If you donate money, he’ll turn it back on.) Nice Big Star encore.
Elliott’s fans loved him so much. Check out this gallery of XO tattoos.