Elliott Smith, Either/Or: Expanded Edition (Kill Rock Stars)
[REMASTER CLASS] Elliott Smith's third solo LP holds a distinctive, bittersweet place in the collective memory of Portlanders—it's the moment that marks his transition from beloved local treasure to renowned, Oscar-nominated celebrity. For its 20th anniversary, Kill Rock Stars is reissuing the album, adding previously unreleased material and a hefty remaster supervised by Larry Crane of Jackpot Studio, which he founded with Smith in the mid-'90s. New Moon already collected two full discs' worth of B-side material from this same time period in 2007, and the sprawling, internet-only Grand Mal tapes assemble everything after; KRS even released several alternate takes from Either/Or in 2012 to celebrate the 15th anniversary. So there are already ephemera aplenty readily available online even for diehard completists. And yet, Smith's prolific acumen for self-documentation still reveals several new gems from his much-harvested back catalog of unreleased material. The slightly somber but colorful "I Figured You Out"—originally gifted to Mary Lou Lord—is the quiet cousin to "Division Day," while a stunning alternate version of XO's "Bottle Up and Explode" features all-new lyrics and sonic profile. The intricacies of what there is to appreciate in a remaster are harder to specify. The performances are made bigger and clearer, and seem to bring Smith closer—something even those who were there the first time around will cherish by the inch.
HEAR IT: Elliott Smith's Either/Or: Expanded Edition is out Friday, March 10.