Sun Kil Moon’s Benji followup Universal Themes is available to stream now, a day ahead of its official release. The new record features previously heard tracks “The Possum,” “Ali/Spinks 2” and “Garden Of Lavender.” It comes paired with an interview with El-P, and the two seem to have made up after a negative encounter that led Run The Jewels to lead a Fun Fun Fun Fest crowd to chant “Suck my dick, Sun Kil Moon.” The two of them cover a lot of ground in their interview, running through each track one-by-one. Read some choice excerpts from the interview below, and stream the album here.
On “The Possum” and memory:
I believe there are poetic things happening in all of our lives, every day, every moment. Maybe not everyone stops to contemplate them or absorb them or make poetry of them, I don’t know. But I see poetic things every day of my life and I’m compelled to write and I suppose memory is important. One idea triggers another. Like, with The Possum, who knew that Gator Ragowski or Davey Moore would turn up in the song? But those are the turns that the song took.
On the cheekily-titled “Cry Me A Williamsburg Sleeve Tattoo Blues”:
EL-P:?re—cry me a river williamsburg sleeve tatoo blues
this song feels like a huge fuck you to anyone who tries to manufacture pain in music without having really felt it or to those that think its romantic to feel loss and suffering. is it possible to write well about pain without having felt it or witnessed it? is the attempt disrespectful to those who actually have?
Mark: This is a reality check song for those who get seriously bent out of shape about not being able to use phones at concerts or that a limited run of vinyl is out of print. “Williamsburg Sleeve Tattoo Blues” isn’t a love song for people who complain about not having a place to sit at concerts, it’s a love song for the handicapped who have no choice but to sit.
I’m human like everyone else so sure and I can find myself dwelling on the woes that come with being 48, but I tend to snap out of it pretty quickly and appreciate what I have. I still live in an apartment that I shared with someone for 3 years, someone who eventually died at 34 years old. So, sitting in this very place I am, where this interview is taking place, is a daily reminder of her and what she would have given to live another year. There is a great Muhammad Ali quote: “If you’re 50 and you think the same way that you did when you were 20, then you have lost 30 years of your life.” Well, I’m pushing 50, basically – am 48 year old – and I’ve seen things happen in the last 30 years that have given me the perspective that I now have. I’m not walking around in a delusional bubble thinking that me and everyone else I know is guaranteed another 20 years, or even 10. “Curveballs”, as my friend Jude said. Jude is the widow of drummer Tim Mooney. He died at 53.
Universal Themes is out 6/2 via Caldo Verde.