James Kozelek

Well? It’s a fact generally unremarked upon but after riding his hog out of Twin Peaks leaving death and chaos behind, James Hurley rode down the coast onto the pacific coast highway to San Francisco, woke up to find he was someone else and formed The Red House Painters to sing sad songs about the pain and beauty of the world. Being a character created and written by David Lynch might go some way to explaining Mark Kozelek’s apparently erratic behaviour, the vibrant weirdness of the deadpan diaristic writing he has turned to over the past three records or so. We were always Team Kozelek because well, War On Drugs are so very dull and it was plain as day to anyone with a sense of humour he was laughing about the whole thing. ‘Benji’ had some pretty great moments but seemed a task to take on, the latest installment ‘Universal Themes’ is more of the same only more and less so. It seems to go on forever and have cut most ties with structure and melody. I’m not sure, but I somehow trust him too much to say it’s rubbish. I liked last year’s Christmas album a lot better, and I reckon I’ll be playing it a lot more. My excitement about the collaboration with Justin Broadrick wearing his Jesu hat was dimmed somewhat by the first track to surface (America’s Most Wanted…) which seemed like stuff the pair of them had left over lazily bolted together. However, last week they briefly shared ‘Exodus’ which starts with the death of Nick Cave’s son and rolls out into a familiar meditation on death and the particular tragedy of losing a child. It also features Alan and Mimi of Low and Rachel off of out of Slowdive. When their voices come in late in the lengthy proceedings it sounds like something from a 70’s Neil Young record and it’s glorious. ‘Comes A Time’ maybe. It’s tempting to ramble on in the way he does these days about it but I only got to listen to it once before they took it back down, so there you go. Anyway, think about Kozelek as James when you listen. Here’s the performance the looky likey pic is taken from, probably his greatest song, with The Roots as his unlikely backing band here…


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