Sometime you follow an artist for years and you kind of get used to what he makes on records. Then out of the blue, there is something new that just pops out. The problem with Mark Kozelek is that there is definitely a few times that it did indeed "just popped out". Moving from the Red House Painters to his new band, Sun Kil Moon, at the top end of the nineties was already a wild card. I still remember perfectly my encounter with the LP Ghost of the Great Highway. There was this way of playing the guitar, the lyrics. The absurd coming from well known songs being reinterpreted in rather odd ways.
Than there was the Jimmy Lavalle project, Perils from the sea that I did tend to play a lot to friends and shows. The impossible groove of Mark with the tight beats of Jimmy. I had to jump on the vinyl record when it popped out and was lucky to get a copy of the limited blue edition. Alas it did not sound as good as the cd and was above all clicking and cracking a lot*. And just after that ? Benji. This record is just pure auto-fiction or should I say auto-lyric, you know this kind of style most novels are now written in. And that is when I realized that Mark had succeeded in blending pop songs into literature.
I saw him in live a few time. Some were good, some were bad. Some were mesmerizing. This live at Arci Biko is just what you can expect from Mark Kozelek at his best. Raw and full of energy. Something quite unexpected from a now fat guy sitting on a chair with a classical guitar. Something that you can listen in your car and just forget that you have a long way to drive. The first live of Mark Kozelek that just makes you confortable (even when he is chatting with his audience). A live where a guy sitting in a couch is as close as it can get from the live experience. It is not the best live recording but the performance is just incredible and yes... it is in CD (you can listen to interesting thought on what Mark thinks of vinyl guys in this performance).
Now : just go and grab a copy At Caldo Verde Records .
* But there are some incredible sounding records of Sun Kil Moon as April Lp.