As I mentioned when it was first announced that Mark Kozelek (of Sun Kil Moon) and Jimmy LaValle (of the Album Leaf) had joined forces to work on a new album: 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.
So his choice to bring in a prominent instrumental collaborator was both exciting and unexpected. However, when I listened to the first track to be released from Perils From The Sea, “What Happened To My Brother?,” I was pretty unconvinced that his choice was yielding worthy musical results: It sounded like Kozelek sort of lazily singing over what they used to call IDM, without the nuance and complexity of his usual work.
But now hearing the thing in full … I’m just in love with it. I dunno if it’s the lovely weather here in New York or the fact that I’m able to immerse myself in this entire record rather than one out-of-context moment from it, but the thing is so gorgeous and so great. Like I said in another Kozelek post, I’ve read and written a lot about Kozelek in my life, and spent a good deal more of that time listening to his music — I’m not exactly an obsessive fan of the guy, but if you and I talked in detail about my one-way relationship with Mark Kozelek over the past 20 years, you’d probably walk away thinking I was an obsessive fan. So my perspective is a little warped. But man, for my money, this is the best thing he’s done in years. Pitchfork is streaming it now. Go listen.