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Lost Elliott Smith song, 'Grand Mal,' discovered

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One small consolation for those who, like me, continue to mourn late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith nearly six years after his untimely death has been all the material he left unreleased. We’ve already been lucky enough to hear two posthumous albums, both uniformly excellent, and there are tons of other demos and rarities making their way from fan to fan online. Via Pitchfork, I just learned of another such treasure: “Grand Mal,” a song of unknown date and provenance that recently turned up on the fan site Sweet Adeline.

Give it a listen below and let us know what you think of “Grand Mal.” It’s barely two minutes and change of finger-picked acoustic chords and double-tracked whispers — vintage Smith, in other words. (Pitchfork surmises that the recording might date from roughly the same period as 1998’s XO, but it sounds a little earlier to my ears.) The lyrics are pretty damn heartbreaking, too. “Don’t forget how much I love you,” he sings, “’cause no one’s seen what you’re going through now.” Oh, Elliott. Wherever you are, your fans will never forget how much they love you.

UPDATE: Sorry, folks — the YouTube stream originally included here has been taken down “due to copyright restrictions.” Here’s hoping for an official release in the near future, then? It would be a real shame for a song as good as “Grand Mal” to sit unheard in a vault somewhere.

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from a basement on a hill review

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