The Kill Rock Stars label released a live recording of Elliott Smith‘s “Angeles” on Tuesday that captures the singer/songwriter playing one of his best-known songs during a set at the YoYo A GoGo festival in Olympia, WA in 1997. The live version will appear in March on the 20th anniversary expanded edition of Smith’s Either/Or album.
The mix of gentle melodic curves and hard strums that helped make “Angeles” instantly identifiable remain intact during his YoYo A GoGo performance. But while his voice sounds lightly layered on the studio recording, Smith is all alone for the live rendition. He drawls the end of the track’s first line – “Someone’s always coming around here trailing some new kill” – and then cuts it off sharply, adding harsh resonance to the final word. A remarkably quiet, presumably rapt crowd takes it all in, only erupting in a wave of applause as the song comes to a close.
The deluxe reissue of Either/Or will contain two discs of material: a remastered version of the original record, along with three unreleased studio recordings, a B-side and a number of live takes from YoYo A GoGo. The project was overseen by Larry Crane, who serves as the archivist for Smith’s estate. In an interview with The New York Times, he described listening to the remastered tracks as “feel[ing] like we were lifting the veil off” of the original songs. Of the live recordings, Crane said, “they really demonstrate how adept [Smith] was live as a guitarist – the fingerpicking, flat-picking and different techniques.”
The Either/Or reissue is due out March 10th.