band, best known as a continuation for the Mark Kozelek project from The Nineties
called Red House Painters
After they recorded what would be their final album, Old Ramon
, they were dropped off of Island Records and the album was shelved for 4 years. In 2001, it was finally released, but the band had broken up from the stressful conditions of the Troubled Production
. So Mark got two of his old collaborators back together with him with a slew of session musicians. The sound of the Red House Painters had changed so drastically that Mark decided to rename the project to Sun Kil Moon.
Their first album Ghosts of the Great Highway
was released in 2003 to great critical acclaim and record sales for any Slowcore
act and for any Mark Kozelek-related project. The next album, a Modest Mouse
cover album, Tiny Cities
was released to mostly positive reviews in 2005. It was in 2008 that the act got a great deal of critical reception when they released April
, a sprawling, folk influenced album. Kozelek followed it up in 2010 with Admiral Fall Promises
, on which he was the sole musician. Although the album was met with generally positive reviews, some fans were disappointed in the fact that Kozelek eschewed the layered arrangements that were present on his previous work.
The band's fifth album, Among The Leaves
, continues the trend of sparse instrumentation set by Admiral Fall Promises
, however, it also featured a more stream of consciousness lyrical approach. Many critics and fans found themselves confused as to what to think of the new album.
In Janissary of 2014, the band released their sixth album, titled Benji
, which continued the lyrical tread set by it's predecessor. The album has been met with some of the most positive reception in Kozelek's career.
Sun Kil Moon displays examples of the following tropes:
- Cover Album- Tiny Cities and the recently released live album, Like Rats.
- Creator Breakdown- Much of the content on April was apparently inspired by the death of Kozelek's one time muse.
- Darker and Edgier: April, which is arguably the darkest album Kozelek has produced since the release his previous band's two self titled releases.
- Epic Rocking- Sun Kill Moon keeps up with the tradition set by Kozelek's previous band and has several tunes that exceed the 5 minute mark. However the best example is probably the 14 minute and 33 second epic by the name of "Duk Koo Kim"
- Genre Shift- As if the change from Red House Painters wasn't enough, the downright bleak, gritty traditional folk sound of April surprised a lot of people.
- I Am the Band- Kozelek when he decides to write out every part of the music.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes- Just like RHP before them, Sun Kil Moon haven't fared much better with this trope. Want to listen to any of their albums on vinyl after their initial pressings? Hope you have 75 to 100 dollars on you.
- Lighter and Softer: Admiral Fell Promises and Among The Leaves are both more relaxed and a tad bit humorous compared to the dark melancholy of April
- Long Title- "The Moderately Talented Yet Attractive Young Woman vs. The Exceptionally Talented Yet Not So Attractive Middle Aged Man"
- New Sound Album: April which dials back the Neil Young influenced soloing present on Ghosts Of The Great Highway in favor of a darker, grittier, more acoustic sound.
- Spiritual Successor- To the Red House Painters.
- Troubled Production- In comparison to Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon had a much easier time with recording and getting albums out. That is, until April was released in 2008. Kozelek became hard to deal with, being massively depressed after the death of a one-time muse of his. This caused an ego unseen in the singer-songwriter that made him even more controlling than usual over the instrumentation. As a result, the latest 2 SKM releases have all been instrumentally stripped down to avoid further complications between Kozelek and session musicians.
- Vocal Evolution: From Among The Leaves onward, Kozelek's voice adopted a more strained, deeper, and more monotone quality.