For the first two-thirds (approx.) of his career, Mark Kozelek made music for a variety of different labels with which he had signed contracts — 4AD, Island, Sub Pop, Badman, Jetset — and during those years, there were long lean periods where you’d get nothing at all from the guy. In 2005, though, he founded his own label, Caldo Verde Records, and since then, his output has steadily increased; at this point, he’s almost impossibly prolific. Already this year he’s released two new albums — the covers album, Like Rats, and the collaboration with Jimmy LaValle, Perils From The Sea (the latter of which contains some of his finest recent work). We’re not even halfway through 2013 and he’s got another release on the horizon: Mark Kozelek & Desertshore.
In fairness, Koz isn’t the driving force behind Desertshore — that would be former Red House Painters guitarist (and frequent Kozelek collaborator) Phil Carney and classically trained pianist Chris Connolly. Koz served as producer, bassist, and (occasional) vocalist on Desertshore’s first two LPs, 2010’s Drifting Her Majesty and 2011’s especially wonderful Drawing Of Threes (both were released on Caldo Verde, too), but for the band’s forthcoming third album, he’s basically a full-time member, singing on every track. (The album’s title kind of gives away his deeper involvement this time around.) If you are a Mark Kozelek fan, this is fantastic news. For too long, Kozelek’s albums — be they under his own name or as Sun Kil Moon — have been spare to the point of uncomfortable loneliness, rarely featuring anything beyond Kozelek’s voice and his (remarkable) acoustic guitar. But some of the best work of his career has been recorded with collaborators, Carney frequently among them. The Kozelek-led tracks on Drawing Of The Threes are magnificent; the three artists complement one another gorgeously. I can’t wait to hear Mark Kozelek & Desertshore in full, and the track/video we’ve got today only intensifies my excitement.
Like so many Kozelek songs, “Mariette” is about a place: in this case, New Orleans — and the clip features many haunting black-and-white still images from and of that city. All the photos were taken by Kozelek between 1999 and 2013, except the one of him and Kirk Douglas from Fallon, which was taken by Kozelek’s longtime publicist (and Go-Betweens bassist) Robert Vickers.The music captures NOLA’s magical, intoxicating essence to even more profound effect. It’s such a great, great song. Listen/watch:
Mark Kozelek & Desertshore is out 8/20 via Caldo Verde.