Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mike's 1000: Entry #2

Wow, I cruised through those last 25 entries pretty quick. I guess it's time to start listening to a few more 2010 albums, or maybe revisit some of the classics I already own. But it's just so easy to listen to classical and (some) jazz when you are trying to get an infant to fall asleep-- plus my work schedule is so light that I don't spend that much time at work where I like listening to new music. Anyways, here's another one Tom missed the boat on.
Artist: Sun Kil Moon
Album: Ghosts of the Great Highway

A lot of the recordings in this book are pretty obvious, at least to the people who care about a particular genre. No big surprise to see Radiohead's "OK Computer" or The Beatles' 6 albums. Tom goes a little obscure at times, but it's always because the pure joy of listening to the band is worth the detour off the beaten path (see Baby Huey and the Babysitters for an example of one of these suggestions that caused me to buy the album the same day I heard it). In my opinion, Sun Kil Moon's debut, the solo project of Mark Kozelek of The Red House Painters, is one of those "Oh My God" listening moments. It might not hit you the first time-- I think I probably liked it just fine the first listen, but after having it in my car for a couple months I found myself going back to it over and over again, whether early morning driving, nighttime sleepy time, rainy day. There was never a bad time to hear the amazing layers of guitar, fuzzed out crunchy chords or softly fingerpicked, driving behind Mark's otherwordly voice. It's hard for me to say what the standout feature of the album is: the vocals, the intricate guitar, the stellar songwriting or the "rend your heart" lyrics. Take the album opener, "Glenn Tipton," for example; Mark's open tuned strum sets the tone immediately for his pleading voice singing a song about the way things used to be. Kozelek has a "Midas Touch" ability to turn any phrase into melancholic gold, and the shrouds of reverb he surrounds himself with give his voice the sound of a memory itself. From the 6 minute plus "Carry Me Ohio," which on paper should fail with its midtempo beat and one guitar lick, but somehow ends up as a masterpiece, to the fact that "Salvadore Sanchez" and "Pancho Villa" are the same song in different packaging (you would never have noticed if I didn't say something), this album is just a wonderful listen. Feeling blue never felt so good.

Catalog Choices: April, Tiny Cities, The Red House Painters Songs for a Blue Guitar
Next Stop: Nick Drake Five Leaves Left

Buy this work of art at amazon, or better yet, go see him live

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