Half Man, Half Alley Cat

Upon hearing Sun Kil Moon’s newest record, Among the Leaves, I pictured Mark Kozelek as a musical Moses—hoisting his guitar aloft like a staff and parting his loyal listeners down the middle like the Red Sea.

Advance press for Among the Leaves described the album as playful, which frankly frightened his fan base a little (me included). While I can think of a few playful songs in Kozelek’s catalog, the other 303 songs in my Koz playlist on my iPod—including assorted solo recordings and the complete works of the Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon—are decidedly somber. His melodies and maladies are often indistinguishable from one another.

“Playful” songs from Kozelek’s past include “Three-Legged Cat,” the penultimate track on the Red House Painter’s Shock Me EP, and “Wop-a-Din-Din,” which opens the band’s final album, Old Ramon. I recall these songs because they are both about cats, and my wife and I own a frightening five felines. [Read more…]