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“Boldly stark, yet surprisingly upbeat sad bastard musings”
Among the Leaves
San Francisco, CA
(Caldo Verde Records)
Releasing albums since ’89, San Francisco transplant Mark Kozelek has one of the most influential careers in independent music. He’s produced most of this own albums, acted in movies and continues to write and tour. Among the Leaves is considered a Red House Painters tour diary, filled with recalled moments and past laurels. Stripped of outer flourish, Among the Leaves is mostly bare (with exceptions), nakedly drawn by a classical guitar and Kozelek’s rich and characteristically bold tone.
Kozelek is known for his dark, nocturne songwriting, but here he points to himself playfully at ease with personal history. A cheerful highlight, “Song for Richard Collopy” is laughable. The song, an undoubtedly a true tale, regards leaving on tour while his guitar is held hostage by a perfectionist repairman loner. It’s one of those strongest and catchiest songs Kozelek has written in recent years, more buoyant and less serious. Arguably, Among the Leaves most memorable moments tend to be upbeat and fun (“UK Blues”) a new distinction for the slowcore God. All told, Among the Leaves breaks new instrumental bedrock with refreshingly unique songwriting that turns out to be blissfully languid for the epitome of singer/songwriters.
Engineered, Recorded and Mixed by Gabriel Shepard and Aaron Prellwitz at Hyde Street Studios
Mastered by Gabriel Shepard at About Records
Produced by Mark Kozelek