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iTunes Review

Mark Kozelek’s work with The Album Leaf’s Jimmy Lavalle on Perils from the Sea gave the Sun Kil Moon leader (formerly of Red House Painters) a new outlook on lyric writing. Kozelek discovered that if he shifted his approach, he could deliver a conversational narrative as personal and as rambling as anything since Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac cataloged what was on their minds. In Kozelek’s case, he pays tribute to his family, whether it’s “Carissa” (a second cousin he barely knew who passed at age 35 in an accidental fire), his uncle who died on his birthday in an eerily similar fire, or his mom (“I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love”) and dad (“I Love My Dad”). He recounts details, big and small, and finds a way to thank Ivo Watts-Russell (the 4AD founder who discovered him in 1992) in a song about watching the Led Zeppelin movie The Song Remains the Same. Even Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie (“Ben’s My Friend”) has a breezy-tune/serious-lyric written about him. There aren’t many artists who discover new voices in their songwriting after 20+ years, but Kozelek’s done it a few times.

Customer Reviews

Ludes n' shrooms

Kozelek's albums have been an automatic purchase upon release for years and years. Those days are now done as I will want to use the little preview button going forward. The lyrics are streams of mundane and sleepy consciousness with little to no craft in melodic structure. Psuedo-choruses lack and sort of punch. Vocals often trail off from the microphone.

Apparently singing about eating crab-cakes at sports bars is mind-blowing story telling to many listeners that puts MK in the ranks of Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney. I disagree.

Some call this approach "PAINFULLY REAL!!!" Having loved the power and design of his former efforts, I call this painfully pedestrian and below standard.

It's sad to me that one of his weakest efforts is being the most celebrated. Dumbing it down works, i guess.

Holy Crap

This album is so real that it hurts.
True folk music storytelling.

am i the only one…?

i’ve followed (aka worshipped) kozelek since he was 24 and recording music in his garage. i’ve seen him perform live with red house painters and then solo. but this recent turn of his self-indulgence—while the moniker “confessional” is a kind way to describe it—is so shallow as to have me pulling up the tent pegs of my adoration. much of the music here is unlistenable because of the lyrics…which is the exact opposite of the reason i fell in love with kozelek: his poetry was always so deep and riveting. what happened? to quote the bard himself from his early days: “oldness comes to the youth who dream of suicide."


Formed: 2002 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

After dissolving his previous band, Red House Painters, singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek resurfaced with Sun Kil Moon, refining and expanding the luminous acoustic balladry and harrowingly intimate lyricism that were the hallmarks of his career to date. Born in Massillon, Ohio, in 1967, Kozelek formed his first band, God Forbid, while in his teens. Upon relocating to Atlanta, he struck up a friendship with drummer Anthony Koutsos, and together they formed the first incarnation of Red House Painters....
Full Bio
Benji, Sun Kil Moon
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Customer Ratings

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