Phoebe Bridgers has talked often about her love of Elliott Smith, and covered a few of his songs; with the 20th anniversary of Smith's fifth LP, Figure 8, on the horizon, she spoke to NPR about him and his influence on her:
Lindsay Zoladz: I'm 33 now, so I was in high school when Elliott Smith died. I have a pretty vivid memory of it — I definitely wrote a really bummed LiveJournal entry that day. Since you got into his music after he was already gone, I'm curious about your earliest memories of listening to him, and what record you started with.
Phoebe Bridgers: I was in eighth grade. My friend Carla Azar showed me "Kiwi Mad Dog 20/20," which is on Roman Candle. It's a super weird one to start with because it's instrumental. Later, another friend showed me "Waltz #2," which became, and maybe still is, my favorite song of his — I think it just exemplifies his writing. Then I went super deep.
I went to Amoeba Music in LA and bought [the 2007 rarities compilation] New Moon, weirdly. Even though it was posthumously released, I just love that record. And there's a bunch of s*** on there that nobody's heard, still, because they were fans when he was still alive and just kind of didn't check back in after he died. The first time I met Conor Oberst, I was playing this club in LA. I played" Whatever (Folk Song in C)," and then my song "Motion Sickness." He was like, "Wow, I loved those last two songs." I was like, "Well, yeah — I played one of mine and then the Elliott Smith song." And he was like, "No you didn't. That's not an Elliott Smith song." So yeah, a lot of people didn't f*** with that record. But that was my first.
The whole interview is a great read, and you can find the rest of it here.
Phoebe's sophomore LP Punisher is due out on June 19 via Dead Oceans, and you can listen to the first two singles, "Garden Song" and "Kyoto," below. She also played a third new song off the album, "I Know the End," during recent livestreamed performance, and you can watch that here.