i think there were a few different, disparate points of exposure to mark kozelek’s music. i think i first recall being conscious of it in the first season of sons of anarchy wherein he sings like the river. one or two of his songs had showed up on mixtapes from the international cd swap around the same time. it was as though i had heard it somewhere before. i guess, a bit like dave pajo, i also saw his name alongside others like will oldham and jason molina.
the only original song on this short release from the album admiral fell promises is third and seneca (played as an alternative version), which feels like it ends before it actually does as he comes round for a second pass of verses. up there with the acoustic guitar of gillian welch and dave rawlings from a week or so ago, sun kil moon creates beautiful flowing songs with the simplest components.
the other songs here are odd covers. the second song is older stereolab called tomorrow is already here, while the third is a cover of a casiotone for the painfully alone song, natural light. most bizarrely, the ep ends with a jackson 5 cover, i’ll be there.
when he sings his own songs, it all makes perfect sense. but here, singing others’ songs as though they are his own, they sound somehow out of place. the other day i was drawn to tears by his rendition of it’s easier now on the jason molina tribute. while he did great justice to it, it was also music that connected more to his own, and therefore sounded so natural for him to be singing.
mark kozelek has, again, a most characteristic voice as well as playing style. and that gets him through most things. you have to like it though.