Palehound – “Southern Belle” (Elliott Smith Cover)
Last year, Palehound, Ellen Kempner’s DIY indie rock project, released the album Black Friday, and it was great. Since then, Palehound have come out with the singles “See A Light” and “Your Boyfriend’s Gun,” and they’ve also released a series of covers: Yo La Tengo on the “Your Boyfriend’s Gun” B-side, Karen Dalton on Polyvinyl’s Stay Home compilation, Mirah on the You Think It’s Like This, But Really It’s Like This reissue. Today, Palehound have taken on a big one. They’ve covered Elliott Smith.
Specifically, Palehound have covered “Southern Belle,” the intense, seething track from Smith’s classic 1995 self-titled album. Kempner is a big, vocal Elliott Smith fan. Last year, she appeared on the podcast My Favorite Elliott Smith Song. This year, she wrote about Either/Or for Under The Radar. She doesn’t go into this one lightly.
Palehound’s version of “Southern Belle” just rules. Kempner keeps the teeth-gritting fury of the original, and she fleshes it out with full-band dynamics, building to a real clangor that was always under the song’s surface. She makes it sound like a Palehound song. Listen to the Palehound cover and the Smith original below.
Palehound’s “Southern Belle” cover is out now on the streaming platforms.