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Sun Kil Moon

After dissolving his previous band, Red House Painters, singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek resurfaced with Sun Kil Moon, refining and expanding the luminous acoustic balladry and harrowingly intimate lyricism that were the hallmarks of his career to date. Born in Massillon, Ohio, in 1967, Kozelek formed his first band, God Forbid, while in his teens. Upon relocating to Atlanta, he struck up a friendship with drummer Anthony Koutsos, and together they formed the first incarnation of Red House Painters. A move to San Francisco followed, where guitarist Gorden Mack and bassist Jerry Vessel rounded out the group's roster. While performing on the Bay Area club circuit, the quartet came to the attention of American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel, who often cited Red House Painters as his favorite band; through Eitzel, RHP's demo tape made its way to the London offices of 4AD Records, which signed the group and in 1992 issued the unvarnished demos -- a striking collection of Spartan, atmospheric melodies lurking behind Kozelek's ghostly vocals -- as the LP Down Colorful Hill. Subsequent efforts, highlighted by a pair of eponymous albums released back to back in 1993, established Kozelek as a writer of stunning emotional depth, unflinchingly detailing his erratic, abusive nature and troubled background.

But relations with 4AD grew strained, and when Kozelek began work on a long-rumored solo album in the wake of 1995's radiant Ocean Beach, the label terminated Red House Painters' contract. Although none of Kozelek's bandmates appeared on the completed LP, the solo disc Songs for a Blue Guitar was instead issued under the RHP banner when it appeared on Island's Supreme imprint in 1996. The group reunited in late 1997 for one final album, Old Ramon, but the Polygram/Universal merger spelled Supreme's end, and the completed LP was indefinitely shelved. Kozelek soon began work assembling and producing Take Me Home: A Tribute to John Denver, an all-star cover record celebrating the life and music of the late folkie, and in 2000 issued his first proper solo effort, Rock 'n' Roll Singer, a curious yet compelling patchwork highlighted by three Bon Scott-era AC/DC covers. Perhaps most surprising, Kozelek also co-starred in filmmaker Cameron Crowe's 2000 release Almost Famous, playing Larry Fellows, bassist for the fictional '70s hard rock band Stillwater. After securing the rights to Old Ramon, Kozelek licensed the album to Sub Pop for release in the spring of 2001. Later that same year, the label also issued his limited-edition solo set White Christmas Live.

In early 2002, Kozelek assembled Sun Kil Moon with former Red House Painter Anthony Koutsos, Black Lab bassist Geoff Stanfield, and erstwhile American Music Club drummer Tim Mooney. Their debut LP, Ghosts of the Great Highway, appeared to wide critical acclaim in late 2003, and Kozelek assembled a new touring band to support its release, spending the better part of 2004 on the road. He also continued his film career, again playing a fictional musician in the 2005 big-screen adaptation of Steve Martin's comedic novella Shopgirl. That summer, Kozelek joined with Low's Alan Sparhawk in the classic rock cover band the Retribution Gospel Choir, issuing a tour-only EP in advance of the second Sun Kil Moon album, the much maligned Tiny Cities, a collection of covers by indie rock band Modest Mouse. The album was the first released on Kozelek's own Caldo Verde label. April, featuring guest vocals from Will Oldham and Ben Gibbard, followed in 2008. Kozelek switched it up again for 2010's Admiral Fell Promises; he recorded ten new songs accompanied only by a nylon-stringed guitar. The like-minded Among the Leaves, Kozelek's fifth outing under the moniker, arrived in 2012. An uncharacteristically direct collection of songs, entitled Benji, was issued in February of 2014. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Along with his genius, is his difficulty in seeming happy! Feel for him, not too nice to his crew, or fans, for that matter.
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Saw him at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood recently. Great show, most fun I've had at a show in a long long time. First time to see him. I am now officially a fan.
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Just saw him do Tiny Cities at the end of his concert in Portland, Maine. Had to teach the band how to play it first, then they pulled it off brilliantly. One of the best shows I've seen in a long time.
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jmack876
Tiny Cities is amazing. A true re-interpret a t i o n . Don't understand the vilification .
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Both of us lonely Ohioans transplanted to the Bay Area. The music speaks to me.
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Mark is brilliant. The end.
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Dramamine is so hauntingly beautiful. I'm really starting to like this band
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Found Sun Kil Moon via Sons of Anarchy (s3e11: Bainne). Alesund is the perfect musical background to an amazing scene. Recognized the voice from the Vanilla Sky soundtrack.
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jhauntl80
Beautiful, haunting lyrics and music.. so glad I discovered this band.
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HELLO ITS BRYAN WAUGH FROM NEWPORT RI,,,VIA CALIFORNIA AVE.....VENT I C E L L O S DAYS...WHEN IN RI LOOK ME UP TONY...I;LL FIND YOU ON FACE BOOK..mARK, ZERA MARVEL...PEA C E . . c h e f waugh
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he is louder than 300 mimes!!
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a-f**king mazing
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hossv
did a good job with the modest mouse song. can you bring it full scale? what do you have to make you big time?
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Feel like I'm in a fish tank, happily swimming with the Angle fish.
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What ever song I just listened to feels a bit like the original Days of the New....so I got that going for me.
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ynewman10
Reminds me a little of Songs Ohia
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wyoflyhi
I like 'im
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bluemoon.44
I was telling my good friend that I didn't really like "mellower" music. He showed me Sun Kil Moon and changed my mind :)
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son las quatro con viente!!!!!
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another great sound that pandora has turned me on to.
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I am not so familiar with Sun Kil Moon but every time it starts playing I have to look on my screen to find out who it is... It capivates me.
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njohnson280
I haven't felt this way about a band since Uncle Tupelo. WoW. Thats what that Buy from Amazon button is for lol.
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Yes, Punk Guy- that cover does make them F***ing awesome!
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chriscas
These songs always seem to have a wonderful sense of place with a story woven in.
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I listened to Red House Painters as a 13 year old farm boy in MN. My sister gave me all of the cds and I've always held a special place for their music ever since. How crazy to hear that same haunting voice again out of the blue on Pandora. Back to my soul.
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Red House Painters / Sun Kil Moon / Mark Kozelek - strikes a chord within like no other artist can. All facets come toghether in all songs in a way like no other artist. Wow, I can't get enough...
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I don't know any of this bands other songs, but the fact that they covered Dramamine makes them f**king awesome.
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ncacp
Such feeling and emotion on by these guys. All of their stuff throws so well together. Ghosts of the Great Highway is in my Top Ten and I just listened to it for the first time earlier this week. I cannot stop listening to it.
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FYI the song in Vanilla Sky is "Have You Forgotten" from Songs From a Blue Guitar. It's absolutely brilliant.
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stinkingrose s 3
Beauty.
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the universe works on a math equation
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Nice music. lots of emotion, that's what I like best. Lily and Parrots, CmO, Floating, and Gentle Moon are my faves.
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Neverending Math Equation is a fantastic cover...
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mough
Fans should also know that, I believe, a song from Red House Painters was featured in the movie Vanilla Sky.
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Agree with u Wade..they only play that song though.
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Carry Me Ohio is solid.
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wow awesome!!! i just discoverd sun kil moon.am becoming a big fan fast.
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awesome and so classic. i love all his albums!
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Fans should also know that Mark Kozelek performs a song in and plays a bit part in the movie Shopgirl.
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tiny cities and convenient parking? seriously?
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Aaahhhh...so o o o t h i n g .
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Ghosts of the Great Highway plays in constant rotation in my car, between Radiohead and Bob Schneider. No Plans on taking it out any time soon. What is it about Ohio? Never been, personally, but becoming intrigued.
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Just found Sun Kil Moon, read the biography, and am now going to become a devoted fan.
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Suzanne, I was also in that same Central Square records store in Seaside, FL, and I was also introduced to Sun Kil Moon. Small, small world.
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when will new cd "APRIL" be on this site???
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Damn, he makes good music.
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The best music has Ohio roots
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The first time I heard Sun Kil Moon, I was in a music shop in Seaside, Florida on vacation. I asked the clerk if she was playing a Red House Painters CD. I had the voice right, at least. I bought it out of the CD player, the only copy she had. Still one of my favorites!
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Man is a genius
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Carry Me Ohio is one of the most perfect songs ever written.
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