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A previously unheard solo version of Elliott Smith’s “Plainclothes Man” surfaces online — listen

on January 25, 2016, 12:15pm

Heaven Adores You is the 2014 documentary chronicling the elusive life of Elliott Smith. For the film’s soundtrack, director Nickolas Rossi scored a major coup by securing rights to over a dozen previously unheard Smith songs. The film’s soundtrack will finally receive a commercial release on February 5th via UMe.

One track on the album, “Plainclothes Man”, will be familiar to Smith diehards as a song from Heatmiser’s 1996 album Mic City Sons. On Smith’s solo take off the tune, the aggression is turned down a notch, even as the tempo is ticked a bit faster. With the singer-songwriter’s own guitar playing taking a more central focus, his lyrics are delivered with slightly less snarl than on Mic City Sons. As one dynamic is lessened and the other strengthened, the song becomes a reflection of Smith’s own musical transition at the time.

“I think Elliott was rebelling against his own sound at the time,” soundtrack supervisor Kevin Moyer told Stereogum. “I don’t think it was anything personal and it was just his way of moving on probably, as he wasn’t always the best with closure. At the time it was the rise of grunge and heavy and loud sound and Heatmiser was there at the top of the heap and I think he just got tired of it. So he stripped it all down and just began performing by himself alone on stage sitting on a folding chair and strumming an acoustic guitar. At the time, that was not the popular thing to do. I mean, that’s punk right there… It’s kind of like the opposite of when Bob Dylan plugged in and went electric.”

Take a listen to the newly revealed version of “Plainclothes Man” below

Heaven Adores You OST Tracklist:
01. Untitled Guitar Finger Picking (1983)
02. Untitled Melancholy Song (1993)
03. Don’t Call Me Billy (early version of “Fear City”) (1993)
04. Christian Brothers (performed with Heatmiser) (1995)
05. Hamburgers (performed with Neil Gust) (1995)
06. Plainclothes Man (Elliott solo version) (1996)
07. Unknown Song (instrumental) (1994)
08. Say Yes (live at Yo Yo Festival 1997) (1997)
09. Unknown (instrumental) (1994)
10. Coast To Coast (early version) (1995-96)
11. Waltz #1″ (demo) (1997)
12. Untitled Soft Song In F (1993)
13. True Love (2001)
14. Miss Misery (live on Late Night With Conan O’Brien) (1998)
15. L.A. (1999)
16. Son Of Sam (acoustic) (1999)
17. The Last Hour (early version) (1999)
18. Everything Means Nothing To Me (1999)
19. Happiness (1999)
20. I Love My Room (1984-85)