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Tiny Cities

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iTunes Review

Sun Kil Moon is primarily a solo vehicle for Mark Kozelek, formerly of the Red House Painters. Kozelek once recorded an entire album (What’s Next to the Moon) of tender acoustic renditions of Bon Scott-era AC/DC songs — and it worked. On Tiny Cities he deconstructs 11 Modest Mouse tunes in a similarly subdued way. Performed mostly on acoustic guitar with spare accompaniment from his backing band, he slows the tunes down and explores the lyrical cracks for stray bits of meaning and nuance, often finding mournful undercurrents not apparent — or not intended — in the original versions. Moody and languid, the tempo varies only slightly throughout the entire album, lulling you in before fading out a brief 30 minutes later. It’s not necessary to be familiar with Modest Mouse’s music to appreciate Tiny Cities, as the essence of the songs are effectively captured without even a reference to their jagged, jangly sound. Kozelek obviously recognizes Isaac Brock as a kindred idiosyncratic spirit, allowing him to crawl inside the evocative lyrics and emerge with something inspired and personal.

Customer Reviews

the next day

if modest mouse is for partying at night, then this album is for the next day's recovery. killer buy.

Misunderstood album

It amazes me how narrow of an expectation so many of the reviewers here have. Sun Kil Moon didn't try to "re-make" Modest Mouse. Think of this album as a Renoir interpretation of a Picasso painting. The Picasso may be the edgy "original", but the Renoir is a softer impressionistic version of the same subject. If you are looking for a Modest Mouse cover band, don't look here. SKM has provided us a beautiful, mellow yet subtle interpretation of some of MM's best songs. I must add that I was a Modest Mouse fan well before encountering SKM. If you aren't a MM fan, you'll thoroughly enjoy this album. If you are and can appreciate another artist's arrangement of the original, then you will also be pleased with this album.

state of bewilderment

it's been months since release, yet i'm still having trouble digesting this one. why would a true super talent "cover" someone of similar stature? i've been a modest fan for years, and a fan of mark's for years as well, but i am not feeling this album. it may have a few cool arrangements, but i think isaac could do the same thing after 5 pilsners at mtv unplugged. no offense to mark, but it feels like a bit of a let down. sun kil's debut was unbelievable, the honesty upwelled emotion to the point of tears, that one will truly hold up for your lifespan."tiny cities" feels like a hollow step backward.


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....
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Tiny Cities, Sun Kil Moon
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