This Week In Rock

The second anniversary of Elliott Smith’s suicide is only days away, and you fans out there who are connected to the inter-web can celebrate by downloading a whole batch of unreleased material from, supposedly, the sessions that resulted in his final album, From a Basement on the Hill. Some of the tracks have been verified as hailing from Basement, such as “High Times” and “Riot Coming,” both of which will show up on the soon-to-be-released Elliott Smith tribute album. The webmaster of (the official Smith web site), Charlie Ramirez, helped clear things up for MTV about the origin of the tracks, saying, "I think some of them might have been considered for Basement, but not necessarily." Several of the songs were originally part of the Portland artist’s final release, but were left out by his family due to their apparently personal nature, although that seems a little contradictory since we are after all talking about Elliott Smith here. The 22 tracks online are going around under the name of From a Basement on the Hill II and date as far back as 1996.


The legendary Johnny Cash will be immortalized yet again by – surprise – a posthumous greatest hits repackaging, titled The Legend Of Johnny Cash. The collection will hit the shelves on Oct. 25, and covers a surprisingly broad selection of tracks from his entire career, something that sets it apart from the plethora of other Johnny Cash greatest hits reissues and box sets. Before you get all excited and run out to Best Buy on Oct. 25, with $20 clutched in your grubby fist, realize that it’s only one disc of 21 tracks, spanning something like 45 years and a lot of music. Would it kill you to just buy a regular album for Christ’s sake?


Now that Modest Mouse has hit the big time, signed a major record deal, bombarded the airwaves, become a household name across the country, even in places like Gresham, and had ringtones made from their hits, what is left for them to do? Well, the group leader Isaac Brock has started his own record label. The imprint, called Glacial Pace, is a subsidiary of Epic and already boasts Mason Jennings, some singer-songwriter from Minnesota that I’ve never heard of before. Apparently the Modest Mouse guy’s gone ape-shit over this new singer, gushing about him in a press release about the new label. "We downloaded some of the songs, and before I get any shit for it, don’t worry, I paid for the songs I downloaded, I was completely blown away with Mason’s unashamed and incredibly sincere voice and lyrics. I can be a real shithead critic when it comes to music so I have to tell you how nice it felt to instantly want to compliment instead of criticize the music." The previously independent-signed Jennings returned the compliment, saying: "Isaac was the first person associated with a major label who I felt could relate to me as an artist and continue to let me make my music. No one understands better than Modest Mouse how to make the jump to a major without losing any artistic integrity." Unfortunately, this means Brock has had to put the screw job to indie label Sub Pop, for whom he was working as an A&R man. Irrespective of that, his new label is going ahead full throttle with the planned release of Jennings’ record by early next year.