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The Bands’ Bands: Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters)

markyMarkbands’ band (bӕnds bӕnd)
n 1. a musical group/person who is widely regarded amongst other musical groups/persons as worthy of adoration, despite said group/person’s lack of popularity and success within the music industry and/or amongst music consumers
2. talented beyond comprehension
3. tragically unlucky




Unlike most bands’ bands, instead of never even having tasted success, artist Mark Kozelek once reached a pretty high level of success and fame as singer/guitarist in the iconic sadcore/indie-folk/apartment-rock forerunners of the ‘90s—Red House Painters.  But if you ask me and plenty of musicians across the board; what Mark Kozelek’s grave baritone voice and washed-out guitars were producing in the ‘90s with Red House Painters was only the beginning to a full collection of genius works to come.

Around the turn of the millennium, Red House Painters sort of dissolved out in the midst of the major label mergers epidemic of the late ‘90s.  Around that time Mark Kozelek would go on to start his (mainly) solo career under the Sun Kil Moon moniker, and utilizing the help from friends to fill in on drums and backing vocals, especially past Painters bandsmates like Jerry Vessel on bass and Anthony Koutsos on drums early on as Sun Kil Moon.  Don’t let the Korean boxer reference (Sung-Kil Moon) fool you, Sun Kil Moon is nothing short of sprightly and deeply-meaningful.  Kozelek tends to incorporate highly autobiographical lyrics into challenging and entrancing, bare-bone guitar tracks which seem to be influenced by a surprisingly pleasant blend of classical guitar and AC/DC.  If you haven’t heard of Sun Kil Moon until right now, you’re in luck.  Kozelek has about a bazillion albums in his discography over the years, a good chunk of them being Sun Kil Moon releases.  A few of my personal favorites include the early Tiny Cities which serves as a short collection of reimagined and Kozeleked-up Modest Mouse covers, April, and most recently BenjiBenji is Kozelek’s most recent display of highly poetic lyricism placed inside some swirling, acoustically driven vessel which came out last month (February 11, 2014) on Kozelek’s own Caldo Verde Records gaining more and more praise from notable music sites each week.

Since Red House Painters, Kozelek has put out about 40+ albums as either himself or alongside/featuring a slew of distinguished musicians such as Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Ben Gibbard and Jason McGerr (Death Cab For Cutie), Jimmy LaValle (The Album Leaf), Jen Wood, and Desertshore to name a few. If you’re looking for some Kozelek collabs that’ll really floor you, I’d recommend the albums Drawing of Threes (with Desertshore) for all of the drummers still reading this article or Perils from the Sea (with Jimmy Lavalle) for those Postal Service and The Album Leaf fans.  Unlike a lot of bands/musicians, both seasoned and newer, the Kozelek discography is so extensive and riddled with gems that once I feel like I’ve overplayed a certain album of his, I find myself taking a step back and then just diving a few albums deeper into his massive discography of somber masterpieces with a certainty that I’ll love whatever I hear next.  It’s like some kind of Caddy Shack scenario, except I’m actually overjoyed and welcoming to the idea.

Drew Bankert just realized that he compared himself to Bill Murray, or rather a character portrayed by Bill Murray, and is extremely mortified at the mere thought of the backlash he will get for this in the comments section below.  He is not worthy and you can follow him here – Facebook, or send him a message at –

You can purchase a CD here if you have yet to pick up Sun Kil Moon’s Benji, and you can buy concert tickets here to see the spectacle known as Mark Kozelek live.

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