Earlier this week, Kill Rock Stars announced that it'd acquired the rights to Elliott Smith's first and last records — 1994's Roman Candle, originally on Cavity Search, and 2004's posthumous ANTI- release, From A Basement On A Hill — and that reissues are scheduled for April 6, 2010.
While KRS nabbing Roman Candle, which is getting a loving remastering, is hardly a surprising move, it seems odd that the much bigger ANTI- (a sister label of punk giant Epitaph) was willing to part with such a landmark record.
That said, it's hard to imagine a better distraction tactic (unintended, we're sure) than releasing a free MP3 of a heretofore unheard Smith track, which is exactly what KRS has done in the form of “Cecilia/Amanda,” a reworking of a song originally credited to Smith's high school band Stranger Than Fiction, titled “Time Is Ours Now.”
But despite the usual tendency of the blogosphere to swallow whole all things downloadable and gratis, at least one writer has taken issue with the track. Seattle Weekly's Sara Brickner had this to say:
“Once you listen to it, you'll see why it was never released: because it's too busy in the same way a painting or a shirt can be too busy. I actually paused the song twice to check and make sure some random pop-up wasn't playing its own dopey music and interfering with my listening experience. Don't get me wrong–the song is not bad, but compared to the Elliott Smith we're used to, it just doesn't quite measure up.”
And well, we see her point. Is it better to let a body (and its body of work) rest, or to excavate every last bit in hopes of fleshing out our imperfect picture of an incredible artist? Decide for yourself:
Download: Elliott Smith – “Cecilia/Amanda” [MP3]