USUALLY, when new music is tested out on studio speakers, the moment is pregnant with excitement. But listening to "From a Basement on the Hill," it just felt like a wake with great tunes.
"It'd be a lot easier if he'd be around to help us," Ms. Bolme said.
Mr. Schnapf added, "I was kind of hoping he'd show up."
As Smith sang, however, the sadness that flooded his five CD's swamped the room. "I'm burning every bridge I ever crossed," he sang, "to find some beautiful place to get lost." By the last line, two opposing things are true: Smith is dead, and Smith is here.
The new album hits stores October 19th, and Mr. Smith will show his face, one last time, on the covers of your favorite indie mags.