The first track to be premiered from Sun Kil Moon’s forthcoming Benji, “Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes,” found Mark Kozelek fucking with an entirely new vocal approach: a rapid-fire, nearly anti-melodic attack similar to one of his primary muses, Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. On “Micheline,” Kozelek sounds more like the singer we’ve come to know on the last few SKM albums, although he’s once again cramming more words per verse than anyone this side of Kendrick Lamar. Like “Richard Ramirez,” “Micheline” is obsessed with death, other lives, and nostalgia (in that order). Kozelek’s voice sounds cracked and weary, full of gorgeous autumnal hues and the same sepia tones that have long dominated his cover art. Joining Koz here are Jen Wood (best known for her work with the Postal Service) and pianist Chris Connolly (of the Kozlek-assisted Desertshore). It’s a stunningly sad and beautiful song from one of the best musicians in the world today. Listen.
Benji is out 2/4 via Caldo Verde.