MARK KOZELEK is known for covering songs from bands not normally associated to his genre of slow, introspective music. They are more than traditional covers, as they are extensively re-worked and re-interpreted to the point that they are often not recognizable to the originals, and take on a different meaning despite the lyrics remaining intact word-for-word. Kozelek’s 2000 solo debut Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer featured covers of songs by AC/DC and John Denver.
His solo 2001 follow-up, What’s Next to the Moon was an entire album of AC/DC songs done in his typically languid, hypnotically melancholy acoustic style. Even further back, Songs for a Blue Guitar, the 1996 Red House Painters album, featured covers of Yes’s Long Distance Runaround, Paul McCartney & Wings’s Silly Love Songs and The Cars’ “All Mixed Up”. 2005’s Tiny Cities is very much in this tradition, taking the often frenetic, noisy songs of Modest Mouse and transforming them into haunting, acoustic guitar-dominated midtempo ballads filled with a deep-seated, haunting melancholy.
His most recent studio release, “The Finally LP” got good reviews from the likes of NME and Pitchfork, with the later saying that the uncharacterist “looseness of the tracklist allows him to indulge some punishing metal riffs and howling emo madman vocals. Yeah, right. Kozelek is the king of somber and of course gives these covers his signature reading: slow, melancholy, full of stoic vocals and steady, shimmery guitar. This solemn take doesn’t work against the LP, but in its favor. The Finally LP is Kozelek’s own tribute of sorts, a nod to his array of idols and influences.” Kozlek will be bringing this unexpected yet excellent collection of songs along with his wide array of covers to a highly aniticipated show at Union Chapel in August…
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On July 13, the new album by Sun Kil Moon entitled Admiral Fell Promises will be released through Caldo Verde Records. The album was played entirely by Mark Kozelek on nylon string guitar and includes 10 original songs.
A limited EP entitled I’ll Be There will be available free with all purchases direct through the Caldo Verde Website beginning July 1, 2010. The 4 song EP includes 1 out-take and 3 covers.
In May of 2009 Caldo Verde released Mark Kozelek: Lost Verses – Live. The album was recorded in intimate, seated venues throughout the US and Europe in 2007 and 2008. This 14 song ‘best of’ collection features Red House Painters classic ‘Katy Song’ as well as several picks from the Sun Kil Moon catalog including ‘Carry Me Ohio’, ‘Lucky Man,’ and ‘Lost Verses.’
A 13 song live CD entitled Mark Kozelek: Live in Spain was released simultaneously as a free bonus CD.
Mark Kozelek’s third album with Sun Kil Moon, April, was released through Caldo Verde on April 1, 2008.
A hardback edition of Nights of Passed Over, a collection of Mark’s lyrics originally published in a limited edition in Portugal in 2002, was also released in 2008. The book includes a preface by Mark and a 12-song rarities CD entitled Nights LP. The book is now out of print. A new, Spanish Edition of the book is available now through the Caldo Verde website.
In December of 2008, Mark released The Finally LP, a rarities collection featuring covers of Husker Du, Stephen Sondheim, Kath Bloom, Low, and others.
Mark’s music has been licensed to numerous television shows including Dawson’s Creek, The O.C. and Friday Night Lights, as well as several films including Tarnation, Excess Baggage, and Vanilla Sky. Mark scored original music for the films Farewell Bender, Last Ball, and Lorena Ochoa: el Camino a la Cima.
In 2005, Mark started his own label, Caldo Verde Records. Releases include the 2-CD Live set Mark Kozelek: Little Drummer Boy Live, Sun Kil Moon: Tiny Cities, a tribute to Modest Mouse, and Alan Sparhawk of Low’s self-titled Retribution Gospel Choir debut album, for which Mark worked as producer. Most recently Caldo Verde released an EP by Jesu, and a full length record by Kath Bloom.
Between 1992 and 1999 Mark released six full length studio albums with Red House Painters. Since then Mark has recorded five solo records and four with Sun Kil Moon.
Little Drummer Boy – Live, released on November 28, 2006, contains live recordings from various shows in Europe and North America. The double CD covers a broad range of Mark Kozelek material, including Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon and personalized covers of Modest Mouse, The Cars and AC/DC.
In 2007, Drummer Boy was released on vinyl as White Christmas & Little Drummer Boy Live as a 4 LP set. The album was coupled with Mark’s 2001 release White Christmas Live, recorded in Scandinavia.
On January 23, 2007, Caldo Verde Records re-released the first Sun Kil Moon album Ghosts of the Great Highway with reworked packaging and a six song bonus CD featuring two versions of Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Somewhere’, alternate versions of ‘Carry Me Ohio’ and ‘Salvador Sanchez’, a radio performance of ‘Gentle Moon’ recorded in Portugal and the previously unreleased instrumental, ‘Arrival’, recorded for the movie The Girl Next Door. Originally released on November 3, 2003, Ghosts of the Great Highway received superlative reviews, moved quickly to the #1 on college radio and has become one of singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek’s most loved and best-selling albums of his 14 year career.
Ghosts tracks ‘Carry Me Ohio’ and ‘Lily and Parrots’ were featured in the Steve Martin film Shopgirl, in which Mark plays the role of a lead singer in a fictitious rock band. Mark also contributed several tracks to several compilations. His version of Will Oldham’s ‘New Partner’ is included on a CD entitled I Am A Cold Rock, I Am Dull Grass. Sun Kil Moon’s version of Neil Diamond’s ‘Kentucky Woman’ is featured on Songs from the Brown Hotel which also features Elvis Presley and Nancy Wilson, the original composition ‘Leo and Luna’ appears on a Canadian Compilation from Paperbag Records, and an exclusive, live version of ‘Have You Forgotten’ appears on the soundtrack to the HBO documentary film The Trials of Darryl Hunt.
Other highlights include producing Take Me Home: A Tribute to John Denver; Retrospective, a two-CD collection featuring various rarities and live tracks alongside favorite RHP material; and appearing as an actor in Cameron Crowe’s critically acclaimed Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky.