Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek has scaled back his musical operations considerably over the last decade or so. He’s built one of modern music’s richest catalogs dating back to 1992 — when his first album with Red House Painters was released — but since starting Sun Kil Moon in 2002, his live performances have been almost exclusively solo affairs (not counting his wonderful performance on Fallon with the Roots), and recently, even his recorded work has grown sparer (not counting his terrific collaboration with Desertshore), to the extent that his recent LPs rarely feature anything more than his voice and acoustic guitar. As I noted in our “Counting Down: Mark Kozelek” feature, it appeared as though he was unlikely to expand operations anytime soon, if ever. But appearances can be deceiving: According to a news post on Sun Kil Moon’s site, Kozelek has teamed with the Album Leaf’s Jimmy LaValle for a 2013 release called Perils From The Sea; the new album will be credited to Sun Kil Moon & The Album Leaf, and will be released on Kozelek’s Caldo Verde label next May. Kozelek has been playing a handful of the album’s tracks (“You Missed My Heart,” “Ceiling Gazing,” “Caroline,” and “Baby In Death Can I Rest Next To Your Grave”) at recent live shows, sans accompaniment. However, the new band have lined up two 2013 dates in advance of the album’s release — at UE Festival in Holland on May 11, and at Shepard’s Bush Empire in London, May 13. (Followed by a US tour perhaps? Please?) Here’s the release in full:
‘Perils From The Sea’ is the debut collaboration by The Album Leaf’s multi-instrumentalist Jimmy LaValle and Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek. The project began on Sept 11, 2011, when Kozelek, a fan and acquaintance of LaValle, asked Jimmy to co-write a song. LaValle, a long time admirer of Kozelek’s work, said yes, and the track ‘What Happened To My Brother’ came together quickly. Pleased with the results, the two agreed to record an entire album. Kozelek and LaValle continued to work together over the following year, until ‘Perils From The Sea’ was completed. For the album LaValle chose a more minimalist approach to the music than The Album Leaf’s large sonic soundscapes. The lyrics to the song, ‘You Missed My Heart’, Kozelek says were inspired by a nightmare he had in an Ontario hotel room. Kozelek’s story-telling narratives playing against LaValle’s hypnotic synth sounds and drums beats should come as a pleasant surprise to fans, and should serve as a great introduction to those previously unacquainted with these prolific and acclaimed artists. “Sun Kil Moon & The Album Leaf” will play their debut concert at UE Festival, Dordecht, Holland May 11, and an additional show at Shepard’s Bush Empire, London, May 13.
In other SKM news, Kozelek will release a covers album, Like Rats, next February, which will feature his signature variations on numbers by Bad Brains, Misfts, Sonny & Cher, and more. The title track is almost definitely the Godflesh classic (from 1989’s Streetcleaner), and I honestly can’t imagine what he’s doing with that one because it’s got like eight words total (“BREED! LIKE RATS!”). Still, Koz and Godflesh main dude Justin Broadrick have worked together a bunch in the past, so it makes sense. Kind of. Check out his cover of Bad Brains “I” here.
Perils From The Sea is out 5/14, and Like Rats on 2/19, both via Caldo Verde.