The songs, released earlier this week by Doughty under the UUL alias, are not very good, and perhaps that's what's annoyed fans of Smith, whose recorded legacy has generally been devoid of Hendrix and 2Pac-like repackagings and repurposements. The Boston Globe's BDCwire goes as far to say Doughty appropriated the Smith tapes in a way that wasn't compatible with Smith's original intent:
This was a collaboration between Smith and the band Soul Coughing, intended to appear as samples or otherwise in music created by the band for the “El Oso” album... In light of all of this information, doesn’t it seem unlikely that the EDM backing tracks for these new Smith songs, created in November 2013 by Doughty after finding the tapes, were somehow precisely the “form we intended” when they were by all accounts recorded expressly for other purposes during the “El Oso” sessions in 1997?I wasn't there, and neither was BDCwire. Doughty was. Based on the evidence cited (which includes an awful lot of talk about a binaural microphone), it does seem likely that Smith dropped in during a Soul Coughing session and not specifically for an offshoot collaboration project, but who knows what agreement he had with Doughty at the time? To me, it seems Doughty's biggest crime was making bad music, but he's been guilty of that before, and whether this Smith collab came out in 1997 or now, it probably still wouldn't have been very good, even with Smith's blessing. But enough speculation. Listen to the new tracks, or don't (like I said, they're bad); perhaps there's room for a small amount of gratitude that we have just that tiny bit more of Smith to listen to.
In related, and better, Elliott Smith news, a song from 1994, "No Confidence Man," has been digitally re-released by UseMusic. It originally came out on a split 7-inch with Pete Krebs; Larry Crane at Jackpot remixed the track from the master tapes, according to the Oregonian. You can purchase it on UseMusic, and proceeds go to benefit Outside In.