Mark Kozelek – “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (Stereogum Premiere)

Mark Kozelek is a brilliant songwriter — I’d argue he’s among the best of our generation — but he’s got an equal genius for song interpretation. Via Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon, or under his own name, he’s done so many notable covers at this point that even a representative cross section doesn’t do justice to his oeuvre: John Denver, Godflesh, the Cars, the Jackson 5, Danzig, Bruno Mars, KISS, Yes, “The Star Spangled Banner” … plus of course entire covers albums dedicated to Modest Mouse and Brian Johnson-era AC/DC. And all this material is unfailingly true to Kozelek’s musical vision: stark, melancholy, clear, serene, driven by Kozelek’s rich, dolorous voice, which is frequently thick with reverb and multi-tracked to cover nine octaves at once. It’s a thing of sublime beauty, absolutely one of my favorite sounds in the whole world. Because of his rare gifts, Kozelek is probably uniquely suited to do an album of Christmas songs. That album — Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols — won’t actually be released till next November, but to slow-boil anticipation and bring some much-needed gravitas and solemnity to our 2013 festivities, he’s made available a couple of the album’s tracks: The a capella “O Come All Ye Faithful” arrived earlier this week, and today, we’ve got his gentle, breathtaking, nearly unaccompanied “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Listen.

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols tracklist:

01 “Christmas Time Is Here”
02 “Do You Hear What I Hear”
03 “2,000 Miles”
04 “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”
05 “Oh Christmas Tree”
06 “Away In A Manger”
07 “Silent Night”
08 “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”
09 “What Child Is This”
10 “I Believe In Father Christmas”
11 “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
12 “Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem”
13 “The First Noel”
14 “The Christmas Song”

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols is out 11/10/2014 via Caldo Verde.

Tags: Mark Kozelek