Among The Leaves

Can I shock you? I like Sun Kil Moon.*

Can I shock you? I like wine.

Ever since hearing Red House Painters after being dumped by my first serious girlfriend I have been a huge Mark Kozelek fan. The lyrics were mopey, heartbroken, and the mood was introspective. Winner! I’ve bought live albums, I’ve bought T-shirts to get “exclusive” live albums, I’ve even bought a hardback book of lyrics. Fandom!

Mark Kozelek is known for album’s that as, Amazon put it, are “like an hourlong microscopic dissection of a broken heart”. What he’s not so known for is his humour. There’s evidence here and there; a downbeat folky album of Modest Mouse covers (actually excellent); almost calling the best of Red House Painters “Redtrospective”; the lyric “Scenesters with their beards and tennis shoes/Skinny and pudgy ugly dudes  on “Third and Seneca” from Admiral Fell Promises, SKM’s last-but-one album.

In fact, to garble the above quoted lyric, “pudgy ugly dudes in tennis shoes” could be the key to Mark Kozelek’s new album (as Sun Kil Moon) , “Among The Leaves”.

Koz – intense

To step back a little, I went to see Mark Kozelek play in Manchester way back in 2007. I remember thinking

a) “Hey he’s pretty funny”

and also

b) “Hey he’s kind of an asshole”

He went on about Ricky Hatton (he’s a massive boxing fan), grumbled at the audience a bit, made a few lame jokes, played some beautiful songs. He came across as a someone who was not the introspective balladeer of his songs, in fact it would be a surprise if he was.

It seems that, on Among The Leaves, Mark Kozelek is trying to show himself as he actually is – or at least a different side to him – compared to the melancholic man that usually comes out when he writes his songs.

In an interview on http://sunkilmoon.com/hearsay2012.pdf they state the album is “melancholy” and “somber”. Whilst it’s true all the songs aren’t sunshine and light, it’s clear from song titles “The Moderately Talented Yet Not So Attractive Middle Aged Man” and “Not Much Rhymes with Everything’s Awesome at All Times” that Kozelek’s tongue is not a million miles away from his cheek. I think Kozelek is giveing a much truer, less melodramatic, image of his life than the narrow focus of previous SKM/RHP albums. He sings on (two) songs of getting the clap (“a little sting”), being bored, not liking the UK all that much (a common American musician complaint) and the man who fixed his guitars….

Previously, he has put women on a pedestal – I’m thinking of the whole of April (about his recently deceased ex) and old songs like “Sumemr Dress” – but on this album a different picture emerges. There’s the “moderately talented young woman” and also the “woman dressed like a witch” he “picked up at 12 and she was gone by 2”.

So as this is an album, what’s the music like? Mainly acoustic, nothing ornately arranged, just guitar and voice. This is similar to “Admiral Fell Promises” but that album was intricate, even ornate, and the songs felt hugely crafted – on this one there’s a sense of things being a bit more tossed off, most definitely looser. Kozelek says in his interview with Hearsay, “I don’t writer bad songs but some of these are pretty bad. I just wanted to show some vunerability and not care.”

This is particularly clear on tracks such as “Track number 8” -“I wrote this one and I know it aint great – I’ll probably sequence it track number 8”. The song, naturally, appears, on track number 11.

So this isn’t a great album. But I think it is a good one. It’s fun to listen to mainly because it’s Mark Kozelek telling the story of his life at the moment, and, you know what, he’s a pretty entertaining guy.

*To avoid confusion Mark Kozelek is a singer songwriter who is the main man behind Sun Kil Moon and previously The Red House Painters.


Andrew Rowsell MBE

 

 

Andrew Rowsell MBE is  based at our Church Street Studios in the heart of the historic market town of Melton Mowbray.

Our fun portraits, contemporary weddings and quality commercial photography comes with over 45 years experience.

We offer a full service, from in house printing, canvas wraps, a full framing service with an extensive gift range, contemporary and traditional frames on offer. Also a large selection of images from the Melton Mowbray area.

We also hand print, produce stunning hand made wedding albums which are individually designed, canvas wrap and frame your own images turning them into works of art. Contact us to upload your image.


All 54 Covers Of Soap

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SO CLAW/SOUR CROW

SO CLAW/SOUR CROW

Download 

So Claw            Sour Crow

 from bandcamp

On Monday 19th September 2011 Cath’n’Dad Records were very proud to release So Claw/Sour Craw, two ten song albums written and recorded at the same time. They’re an eclectic mix of eclectic, hooked filled indie-pop with echoes of Galaxie 500, The Wedding Present, The Field Mice and our usual old favourites. This time the songs are about, amongst other things: Vaslav Nijinsky, being frightened of going out, Bill Clinton and toothpicks. We recorded the songs in London (and a little bit in Leeds) between Autumn 10 and Summer 11 and invited along a few friends to flesh out our sound.

Definitely our finest work(s) to date, please download and spread the word! For more information see the Press Release and Lyric Sheet or contact drytherain @ hotmail.com, we’d love to hear from you.

Listen To:   Japanese Capillaries    Duet     Knots

Download So Claw from bandcamp

Download Sour Crow from bandcamp

EXTRAS

Download Press Release

So Claw/Sour Crow Lyric Sheet 

Posters

50 Influences On The Albums

So Why So Claw and Sour Crow?