Elliott Smith’s New Electronic Tracks Are So, So Strange

January 28, 2014 | Andy Cush

Here’s something you did not expect to be listening to on January 28th, 2014: three brand new songs featuring Elliott Smith singing over synths and four-on-the-floor dance rhythms. Lo and behold, here we are.

The songs, dubbed “The Record,” “Dogs,” and “Burn (Aah Fuck),” use vocals Smith recorded with Mike Doughty of the band Soul Coughing sometime in the late ’90s. Doughty found the tracks in November of 2013 and built the new electronic productions around them.

About that production: it is not very good. Much of the time, the beats sound like they were made around the time the vocals were recorded, by a teenager who was just figuring out how to use Fruity Loops. “Burn (Aah Fuck)” is by far the best of the bunch, chopping and rearranging samples of Smith’s voice to Thom Yorke-ian effect; “Dogs,” with opens on the excellent lyric “I don’t want to live here with your fucking dog,” is the strangest.