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Tag: Elliott Smith (1-6 of 6)

What would Kurt Cobain's music sound like today?

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, I ruminate over the anniversary of the death of one of the last great rock stars with a simple question: Had he not died in April 1994, what might Kurt Cobain’s music have sounded like now?

In order to find some possible answers, I talked to Cobain’s friends and collaborators about his potential musical directions; the master playlist craftspeople at Beats Audio took those cues and built a batch of songs that help extrapolate what Cobain might have sounded like had he lived.

“Cobain always seemed like an old soul and I agree that he would have continued to explore more acoustic music, as opposed to electric,” says Beats’ Scott Plagenhoef. “He wrote personal lyrics but they were opaque and non-linear and he never wrote narratives. There is also a temptation to assume major creative forces like Cobain would remain progressive into their older age but the fact of the matter is that was never a quality that he displayed even during his lifetime. There is no indication he would have embraced electronic music, for example.”

The playlist includes a handful of tracks that seem like inevitable Cobain compositions (Elliott Smith’s “Waltz No. 2 (XO),” Wilco’s “How To Fight Loneliness,” The White Stripes’ “We’re Going To Be Friends”), as well as some reasonable stretches (EMA’s “California,” Cat Power’s “He War,” Lambchop’s “My Face Your Ass”). Spin the whole thing here while you consider what might have been.

What do you think Kurt Cobain would have sounded like in 2014? Let us know in the comments.

Lost Elliott Smith song, 'The Real Estate,' surfaces on his high school friend's charity disc

Singer-songwriter Elliott Smith in 2003.

For those who thought they’d bootlegged every last possible song from the late indie-rock hero Elliott Smith, it’s your lucky day.

An unreleased Smith track called “The Real Estate” will appear July 19 on Live from Nowhere Near You II, a new three-disc benefit comp curated by Kevin Moyer. When we first heard the news, we wondered (as we sifted through our own stacks of Smith recordings), how did it resurface eight years after Smith’s death?

Turns out Moyer went to high school with Smith in downtown Portland, Oregon. He originally reached out to Smith years ago when he was working on the first volume of the compilation, which benefits Outside In, a Portland-based charity for homeless youth, but Smith didn’t end up contributing.

“I think this was either smack in the middle of his downward spiral or during his subsequent rise and recovery from it,” Moyer said in a statement. Sadly, a few months after the charity record was released, he learned that Smith had passed away. “I was completely and totally devastated, and still am.”

Years afterward, Moyer met up with Larry Crane, who owns Portland’s Jackpot! Studio, where Smith often recorded. Crane had just finished mixing Smith’s posthumous release New Moon, and as he listened to unreleased tracks with Moyer, they discovered an unlabeled mystery track hiding between two other known songs on a DAT tape.


Roger Waters apologizes for accidentally defacing Elliott Smith memorial mural

figure-8Roger Waters‘ new viral marketing campaign is meant to generate buzz for his upcoming The Wall Live” tour. Instead, it’s getting some unwanted attention after one of his posters wound up pasted over part of the late Elliott Smith’s memorial mural on L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard yesterday. L.A. Weekly has pics: As you can see there, Waters’ street team stuck an image featuring an anti-war quotation from President Dwight D. Eisenhower directly on top of the beloved mural, which appeared on the cover of Smith’s Figure 8 and was unofficially dedicated with messages in the singer-songwriter’s memory after his tragic 2003 death. Smith’s fans were understandably less than thrilled.

Waters promptly apologized for what he called an innocent mistake. “It was absolutely an accident,” the Pink Floyd frontman told the L.A. Times today. “I didn’t want to disrespect Elliott Smith’s fans, and I’ve instructed [the team] to remove the wheat paste immediately. It was a random pasting in the normal course of this, and I want to make it public that we had no intent to offend or cover up something precious.” A rep for Waters tells the Music Mix that the poster has already been removed. READ FULL STORY

Oscars won't invite Best Song nominees to perform: Will you miss them?

Oscar producers announced this week that none of the Best Original Song nominees will be invited to perform at the Mar. 7 Academy Awards. Given that we recently dubbed this year’s crop of music-Oscar contenders the “worst nominations ever,” I suppose it would be hypocritical to get too upset at this news. Will anyone really miss seeing Nine‘s “Take It All” or Paris 36‘s “Loin de Paname” performed live? It would have been nice to see Crazy Heart‘s “The Weary Kind,” maybe, but that’s about it.

Still, Best Original Song performances have yielded some very worthy Oscar moments in years past. I’m thinking of the late, great Elliott Smith’s shy “Miss Misery” in 1998 (below), or Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová’s awwww-inspiring “Falling Slowly” ten years later, or Bruce Springsteen’s moving (and excellently goateed) “Streets of Philadelphia” in 1994. Even if I won’t miss this year’s nominees, I certainly hope this isn’t a permanent decision to exclude music performances from future award ceremonies.

What do you think of this move? Were you looking forward to seeing any of this year’s Best Original Songs performed? What are some of your favorite Oscar music moments from the past?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from’s Music Mix:
Olympic Songs of the Day from U.S. Women’s Hockey Team
Jay-Z slams “We Are the World” remake: “Some things are just untouchable”
“We Are the World” remake debuts during Olympics opening ceremony: What did you think?
‘My Sharona’: the real Sharona remembers late Knack singer Doug Fieger
John Mayer is very sorry about his explicit sexual and racial comments; do you believe him?

Elliott Smith, 1969-2003: Gone six years today

Elliott Smith, the prodigiously gifted singer-songwriter whose fragile, flaying songcraft earned him an intensely devoted following in his short lifetime, died six years ago today at 34. The cause was two apparently self-inflicted knife wounds to the chest, though the L.A. county coroner did not conclusively rule his death a suicide.

Smith’s legacy of seven studio albums, two of them posthumous, is equal to or bigger than many of his gone-too-soon compatriots (Gram Parsons, Nick Drake, Tim and Jeff Buckley). Still, it’s hard not to think about the work — and the life — that his friends, fans and family still miss.

Watch a home-made recording of “Between the Bars,” from his 1997 watershed Either/Or below, and share your favorite memories of Smith, whether it’s his bizarro-world appearance preceding Celine Dion on the Oscars stage to perform Good Will Hunting‘s “Miss Misery,” or hearing “Waltz #2″ or “Angeles” on a dive-bar jukebox or dorm-room stereo for the first time:

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ iTunes Original sessions available now
Michael Buble tops the albums chart again; ‘New Moon’ soundtrack sees strong early sales
Ben Gibbard acts! Watch the Death Cab for Cutie frontman earn his SAG card
Lily Allen abducts Elton John—in her video dreams
Regina Spektor at Radio City Music Hall: Concert review

Lost Elliott Smith song, 'Grand Mal,' discovered

One small consolation for those who, like me, continue to mourn late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith nearly six years after his untimely death has been all the material he left unreleased. We’ve already been lucky enough to hear two posthumous albums, both uniformly excellent, and there are tons of other demos and rarities making their way from fan to fan online. Via Pitchfork, I just learned of another such treasure: “Grand Mal,” a song of unknown date and provenance that recently turned up on the fan site Sweet Adeline.

Give it a listen below and let us know what you think of “Grand Mal.” It’s barely two minutes and change of finger-picked acoustic chords and double-tracked whispers — vintage Smith, in other words. (Pitchfork surmises that the recording might date from roughly the same period as 1998’s XO, but it sounds a little earlier to my ears.) The lyrics are pretty damn heartbreaking, too. “Don’t forget how much I love you,” he sings, “’cause no one’s seen what you’re going through now.” Oh, Elliott. Wherever you are, your fans will never forget how much they love you.

UPDATE: Sorry, folks — the YouTube stream originally included here has been taken down “due to copyright restrictions.” Here’s hoping for an official release in the near future, then? It would be a real shame for a song as good as “Grand Mal” to sit unheard in a vault somewhere.

More Elliott Smith:
Elliott Smith’s best live covers

New Moon review
from a basement on a hill review

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Cory Chisel: Music Mix exclusive stream
Steely Dan live in L.A.
Smash Mouth singer goes country; ’90s resurgence officially absurd

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