Elliott Smith’s acoustic guitar creaks and squeaks like an old house on his debut, Roman Candle, released 20 years ago today (July 14). Of the five albums Smith made over the course of his nine-year solo career, his debut was the most lo-fi, both in aesthetic and in process. As Gonson explained in Pitckfork’s oral history of Smith’s career, Smith would spent hours writing the songs that’d become Roman Candle in the upstairs portion of the house they shared together on Taylor Street in Portland. When he was ready to record, he’d retreat to the basement, where “he was perched on a stool surrounded by garbage.” Needless to say, he recorded the songs that would become Roman Candle quite quickly.
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