I'm very pleased to let people know that Matthew LeMay's intricate and fascinating study of Elliott Smith's XO album has now been published in North America.
From the back cover copy:
The name "Elliott Smith" conjures images of a sad, powerless, and drug-addled coffeehouse troubadour. But Smith's 1998 major-label debut XO is a musically intricate and lyrically bold rejection of this archetype. How and why did Smith come to be considered the consummate "sad sack," even as his music explicitly countered this construct? Tracing numerous early demo and live recordings of the songs that became XO, Matt LeMay deconstructs the remarkable creative process behind a fully realized masterpiece and examines the tension between Elliott Smith's work and his popular image.
And here's Smith on Jools Holland's BBC show in 1999, performing "Waltz #2" from the album: