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Lord, Kill the Pain: The Mark Kozelek Chronicles

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saw him at the Hot Dog Fest a few years ago. Some obese woman kept yelling out during one of the quiet numbers, so Mark walks off the stage and starts punching her a few times, then just jumps right back on stage and does 2 Sonny and Cher covers. Then he told the crowd that its his drummer's birthday, and that he flew in his mom, his mom comes out on stage with a present, somehow Mark slipped a "You're Fired" note in it, and tells them both to get off the fucking stage. Then he ate 7 hot dogs and said that he isn't going to pay for any of them, and that they should be free for him.

 

 

followed closely by an ol spicy keychain to the bass player, i'm assuming 

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fine then

 

ghosts-of-the-great-highway-e12798393209

 

Ghosts of the Great Highway

by Sun Kil Moon

 

My uncle gave me this disc about 10 years ago. He was getting rid of virtually all of his CDs -- with the important exceptions of his Pavement deluxe reissues, he made a point to tell me, which were kinda recent at the time -- because everything'd moved digital, obviously. He was also the first guy who showed me an iPod several years earlier, with which I was fascinated. I remember scrolling through tons and tons of LPs that I'd loved, and plenty that I'd never heard before but would grow to love in subsequent months and years -- Smashing Pumpkins discography in that former category, Guided By Voices in the latter.

 

He'd brought over a big milk crate of discs to thanksgiving that year, just to let me pick through and take what I wanted. I grabed Pixies discs, something by the Dirty Three, handfuls of R.E.M., a couple of Pearl Jam albums I didn't own yet, a good bunch more I'm forgetting, and Ghosts of the Great Highway. I didn't know what it was, except that the album title rang a bell from somewhere (the internet surely, mighta been atease). My uncle saw it in my stack at the end of the night and mentioned specifically that it reminded him of his dad--my grandfather, who'd died a few years earlier, a man I'd never really known well due to a horrible relationship between he and my own dad. There's not a whole lot else to this anecdote except that I've kept it with me for years, and I think of it every time I hear "Glenn Tipton."

 

I listened to the album that night on my bed, because it was the most unfamiliar disc to me at the time. There wasn't any moment of illumination, some immediate connection I knew at that moment would last a lifetime, anything like that. "Carry Me Ohio" was cool, and I'd drifted off shortly after that. Got into the album gradually and heavily throughout the next year, which led to a purchase of RHP I at a Borders Bookstore near my grandma's house, something that eventually manifested over several years into that weird and memorable anticipation of April mentioned earlier in this thread. 

 

All of this is a rather roundabout way of saying, Ghosts of the Great Highway was the LP that got me into Mark Kozelek's work. As much half-hearted shit as I like to give this record, due mostly to it's soggy middle section and a handful of middling tunes, it's formation of a perpetual common ground among the guy's fans old and new--it's the one that did it for me, it's the one that's done it for many, and it's the one that will likely do it for plenty others into the future.

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Ghost is essentially Glenn Tipton, Carry Me Ohio, Duk Koo Kim and Salvador Sanchez. Those 4 are among his very best but everything else isn't all that great imo. Though I also think the weaker tracks never reach I Love my Dad levels of awfulness, they're merely just okay.

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Ghosts is the only SKM album I've yet to hear. Been listening to AFP and April a lot recently and am realizing with each listen how far superior each is to Benji. Benji really is the weakest album in the SKM discog.

Seeing this sad bastard in a week for the first time. Probably going to stand in the first couple rows to experience the fabled Kozelek Hazing^TM

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Kind of funny how many people are discovering Sun Kil Moon through Benji (myself included) and then going on to realize that it's one of the weaker LPs under that name :w

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Dunno if that 1 MM comment was directed me or not but I discovered SKM after ATL came out for the record ::2

ATL is just about the strangest starting point for someone to get into the music of Mark Kozelek but here we are.

Listening to AFP right now and holy shit this record is phenomenal. Voted for April in the top albums poll but AFP may have already overtaken it for fav SKM record (though this seems to be a case where the favorite album can change depending on the day). Ålesund --> Half Moon Bay run to start the album :wub:

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My comment wasn't directed at anyone in particular. More of an observation.

 

I listened to ATL around the time it came out. I remember thinking "what the fuck is this shit". Especially after only knowing the first couple of Red House Painters albums.

 

I'm all aboard the Koz hype now though.

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I can see why people think more highly of the songwriting quality on albums like April, Admiral Fell Promises, etc, than on Ghosts. But I think that as far as Sun Kil Moon goes, the styles are apples and oranges. I appreciate Ghosts in a different way and ultimately I return to it the most. Admittedly I'm still relatively new to RHP and SKM and might have a different opinion in a couple years or something but even then I don't see myself turning against the middle section of Ghosts. Kind of hurts me that people poop on it. "Gentle Moon" is fucking beautiful.

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Loved AtL upon first listen, had no reservations about it whatsoever. Which seems strange looking back in retrospect having not heard any of his prior work. The mixture of enchanting guitar playing and (mostly) uncomfortable yet comical lyrics clicked. Young Love :wub:

Total travesty you won't see him sing Pray for Newtown in Newtown, moon man.

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Can you imagine that set though?

 

"Thanks everyone! We really should take a moment to think about the families that lost so much in Newtown. This next song is called Dogs"

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I can see why people think more highly of the songwriting quality on albums like April, Admiral Fell Promises, etc, than on Ghosts. But I think that as far as Sun Kil Moon goes, the styles are apples and oranges. I appreciate Ghosts in a different way and ultimately I return to it the most. Admittedly I'm still relatively new to RHP and SKM and might have a different opinion in a couple years or something but even then I don't see myself turning against the middle section of Ghosts. Kind of hurts me that people poop on it. "Gentle Moon" is fucking beautiful.

 

mind, it's all relative. I love ghosts of the great highway. it's a great record. just that the dude has put out many of my all time favorite lps and that one happens to be less-good-than-those, so I tend to judge it more harshly than I might if it were recorded by someone else, you know what I mean?

 

last tide and floating are both really good, but they've both always been a tiny bit lightweight and self-consciously "album-y" with  the transition... not that this is a bad thing, really, and I hesitate to use the word "crutch" but it's sort of a... crutch he hasn't used before or since. see also pancho villa. gentle moon is good but of similar koz songs of that nature I'm gonna take moorestown every time. si paloma is nice but if it were somehow erased from history I wouldn't be much bent out of shape about it.

 

and then lily and parrots kinda outright blows.

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I even like Lily and Parrots.

 

I see what you're saying, I guess I just enjoy the album-y feel. I like how there's room to breathe on Ghosts-- some of his other LPs can start to feel a bit claustrophobic to me, densely arranged and kind of nonstop, so I appreciate those looser 'transition' tracks. But there's a time and place for everything.

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Can you imagine that set though?

 

"Thanks everyone! We really should take a moment to think about the families that lost so much in Newtown. This next song is called Dogs"

 

An error occurred

You have reached your quota of positive votes for the day

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I even like Lily and Parrots.

 

I see what you're saying, I guess I just enjoy the album-y feel. I like how there's room to breathe on Ghosts-- some of his other LPs can start to feel a bit claustrophobic to me, densely arranged and kind of nonstop, so I appreciate those looser 'transition' tracks. But there's a time and place for everything.

 

don't feel this way about any of his LPs myself, really,  but I understand what u mean.

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I wouldn't say claustrophobic but I know what she's getting at. They're kinda long slogs at times. Overly studied and precise or slaved over. Idk. I agree with her last few posts re: ghosts.

Prob also why I foud ATL to be so refreshing. The humor was so necessary at that point.

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Last Tide and Floating are the only tracks that feel slight on Ghosts. Gentle Moon is absolutely wonderful and I'm surprised fans of his work wouldn't get anything out of that. It's an album that really breathes and has peaks and valleys. Pancho Villa is one of the most beautiful songs he's ever written and is my favourite of the album. April for the first year that I started listening to it felt very monochromatic in comparison - same with AFP. I don't feel that way anymore, April in patricular blossomed for me and sounds like a completely different record to my ears. I now like it just as much as Ghosts. I think AtL and Benji really put it in perspective, and I can relate to people calling it their favourite by him.

Songs For A Blue Guitar to AFP is imo, Mark at his peak. I introduced a lot of my friends to his discography around the time AtL came out and that was in a way their gateway record. Save a few songs (Young Love is one of his best songs ever) I wasn't really moved by it but I had one friend that really took it to heart and his attachment rubbed off on me. I think it's a lot better than people give it credit for, much better than Benji. I'm genuinely confused about why that record has been such a breakthrough for new fans...

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Gentle Moon is absolutely wonderful and I'm surprised fans of his work wouldn't get anything out of that. It's an album that really breathes and has peaks and valleys. Pancho Villa is one of the most beautiful songs he's ever written and is my favourite of the album.

 

Good post and agree with these sentences in particular.

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