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Shock Me - EP

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Album Review

Despite having a title track by Kiss, this mid-career EP displays a confident, introspective Red House Painters seemingly influenced by a parallel world where Nick Drake shoegazed it up with Ride or Chapterhouse. Somehow, it's quietly splendid. Both "Sundays and Holidays" and "Three-Legged Cat" take the plaintive, solo-acoustic work of a haunted troubadour without once sounding folksy or trite. Even the cover title track sounds just bridled enough to stun fans of both Kiss and Red House Painters alike (Mark Kozelek would later repeat this strategy on his debut album, Rock 'N Roll Singer). Most EPs are nugatory, contract-stalling diversions, yet this mini-release is simply essential — in both senses of the words.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Red House Painters was primarily the vehicle of singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek, an evocative, compelling performer of rare emotional intensity. Like Mark Eitzel of American Music Club, to whose work the Painters were invariably compared and to whom their early success owed a tremendous debt, Kozelek laid his soul bare on record, conjuring harrowingly acute tales of pain, despair, and loss; unlike Eitzel, Nick Drake, and other poets of decay, Kozelek's autobiographical songs walked their tightrope...
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