Various Artists – Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith (American Laundromat)

A collection of rock so soft it’s one amp away from folk, these covers of Elliott Smith tunes are down-tempo and slightly dreamy, with some solid standouts. Track 5, Juliana Hatfield’s “Needle in the Hay” is musically complicated and hummable and has Juliana Hatfield in it. Track 9, “Waltz #1” by Escondido, is the best thing I’ve heard all year, gutsy and ether-soaked and strange — plus the singer has skilled pipes, not just a nice voice.  Track 11, “Condor Ave” by Jesu/Sun Kil Moon is a tremendously interesting spoken-word synth piece but it does have a swear in, so pre-listen and get those bleep-fingers warmed up for airplay.

Play: 2, 9, 13

FCC: 3,7, 11

RIYL: Kate Bush, Donovan, Mission to Burma

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