Elliott Smith’s self-titled 1995 album is getting a remastered and expanded 25th anniversary reissue. It’s out August 28 via Kill Rock Stars. The collection includes Live at Umbra Penumbra—a 1994 performance at a Portland café that’s being called the earliest known live recording of Smith performing as a solo artist. Listen to the new live album’s version of “Big Decision” below.
The package comes with a 52-page coffee table book with handwritten lyrics, words from Smith’s peers about the album’s creation, and a series of previously unseen photographs from JJ Gonson—the artist behind the album cover. Gonson is releasing a series of photo prints of Smith—one per month through August. They’re available for purchase through Morrison Hotel Gallery.
Larry Crane, the producer and engineer who serves as the Smith family’s official archivist, dug through the archive of reels, cassettes, DAT tapes, and digital files to locate the best sources for Elliott Smith’s first-generation mix downs. Crane said the new live album is sourced from a high-quality cassette provided by Casey Crynes. “There are fan-traded MP3s out there of this show, but when people hear what I was able to extract from this original tape, they’ll be shocked,” he said in a statement.
Artists have been enlisted by Kill Rock Stars to share covers of songs from the album. First up are Califone, who shared their rendition of “Needle in the Hay.” Listen to it below.
“I’ve always felt like this record is underappreciated,” Kill Rock Stars founder Slim Moon said in a statement. “A lot of people overlook Elliott’s first two records—they think of them as a prelude to the bigger albums that followed—but when you go back, you discover they’re really great. This is Elliott’s most fragile and delicate music, and we wanted to honor that with a special and beautiful package.”
Read Pitchfork’s 2013 feature “Keep the Things You Forgot: An Elliott Smith Oral History.”