Sun Kil Moon Vinyl, CD & tapes by Sun Kil Moon at Norman Records
The Grampa Simpson of rock and roll made all of his best material back in the early days of Sun Kil Moon. Quote me on that and then let's fight. His earlier work as Red House Painters was good and all, but the best thing he ever did was exchange a dour electric guitar tone for the nylon-stringed sentimentality of this project. No longer slow and decaying, his music under this alias begun with a bright and sincere approach -- we could never have foreseen that it'd end up in tatters.
Ghosts of the Great Highway is one of folk rock's high watermarks. It is a delicate and poetic meditation on the everyday patter of Ohio life: diners and exes coalesce into a vivid portrayal of American slice-of-life. As Kozelek moved on, he created records that felt like the seasons, with the Autumnal romantics of April and the balcony heat of Admiral Fell Promises. The music was gorgeous, and Kozelek's deep, furrowed vocal helped plenty. Beauty reigned.
As time has gone on, the sage and patient Kozelek has been replaced with one writing grocery lists and doing unsolicited stand-up routines. He's started using his songs to complain about tour, read out letters from fans and hurl abuse at other bands on the indie rock circuit. It's gotten a little clownish, and now a little stale, but at least we know we'll be hearing two plus hours of Sun Kil Moon every year until the world collapses. Remember the highs, at the very least.
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