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Hear Elliott Smith’s Unreleased ‘Alameda (Alternate Version)’

Elliott Smith / Photo by Getty Images

Elliott Smith would turn 43 on August 6 if not for his horribly sad death almost nine years ago. In the late Portland singer and songwriter’s honor, indie label Kill Rock Stars is unveiling a set of previously unreleased tracks, Pitchfork points out. First up is an alternate take of “Alameda,” which appears in its finished form on 1997’s stark, masterful Either/Or, which ranked at No. 48 a couple of years ago on SPIN’s 125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years. A few lyrics are slightly different here — “All you’re good at now is breaking your own heart” — but the harmony- and organ-drenched arrangement is just as fragile, immaculate, and, yup, heartbreaking as ever.

The latest Smith rarity comes as Kill Rock Stars gets set to reissue Either/Or and Smith’s 1995 self-titled album this month on 180-gram vinyl. On Smith’s birthday, the label will price its 2010 An Introduction to… compilation at $4.99, and if you sign up for the Kill Rock Stars mailing list on that day, the label reportedly promises “a present.” What’s more, Smith’s full Kill Rock Stars discography is on sale for $49 all month, and a 10% discount for Smith merchandise comes with any Kill Rock Stars mail-order purchase.

For more on the latest Smith offerings, visit the Smith section of the label’s website. We’re all in favor of anything that brings his sad, beautiful songs to new ears.