Before this, Mike Doughty was best known as the frontman for Soul Coughing. But he threw the internet a curveball today when he released three EDM collaborations he recorded with Elliott Smith in 1998.
Doughty goes by UUL for these tapes. He says Smith recorded the vocals a cappella while he was in town working on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack. The tapes found their way back to Doughty in November 2013. That’s when he began work on the backing tracks.
It is at least bizarre to hear Smith’s fragile vocals over the percussive thumps of house music. I can’t help but feel as though I’m hearing a lost relic, something unformed and unfinished—among other things, Smith’s vocals on “The Record” eventually became the lyrics for “Bottle Up and Explode.”
Doughty references the songs in Jayson Greene’s oral history of Elliott Smith, “Keep the Things You Forgot”:
I just wanted to do something with him. I didn’t wanna do something– you know, a rock collaboration would always end up just somebody doing a backing vocal and you’d be like, “Yeah, well, if you listen really closely, you can hear J Mascis.” Whereas in hip-hop music– first of all, I have to say, we don’t claim that we were running in hip-hop circles; it was just my obsession– someone would come in and do a verse. They would have their own part of the song.
Stream the three songs below: