Release Date: May 11, 2018
Record label: Caldo Verde Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
One of the truly great and largely overlooked songwriters of our times, Mark Kozelek has walked a truly different path since his Sun Kil Moon masterpiece Benji back in 2014. Having crafted a new, detailed, diaristic, half spoken-word style that broke away from the trademark baritone croon of the past, he led Sun Kil Moon to further experimentation on Universal Themes (2015) and the sometimes impenetrable Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood (2017). Live shows saw Kozelek step out as a "frontman" for the first time, rapping, screaming himself hoarse over a jagged, near post-rock backing band, yielding uneven, but often awe-inspiring results.
Mark Kozelek recorded his self-titled 2018 full-length primarily at hotel rooms in his home city of San Francisco. Accompanied by an engineer, he looped and layered guitar parts and came up with the bulk of the lyrics on the spot. The tone is set by opener "This Is My Town," which details his experiences wandering around town, going out for dim sum, novels he's read, and how he can pick up any guitar and feel comfortable playing it -- pretty typical of the lyrical content for much of his work during the 2010s.
Most die-hard Mark Kozelek fans are unanimous about his recent output; his artistic vision greatly eclipses any urge to please the audience. On the latest self-titled effort, Kozelek continues to define the post-Benji era of his career with the significant stylistic changes that have found him straying further away from the trademark sound that he cultivated with Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon. On Mark Kozelek, the San Francisco-based musician once again exchanges symbolic metaphors and lush vocals for verbose, stream-of-conscious lyrics that define his style today. He spares no details on his day-to-day thoughts and experiences; some are exciting, some banal, but all are unfiltered and possibly even unedited.