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Cluny Komack

Cluny Komack

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As the singer-songwriter behind the band Red House Painters, guitarist Mark Kozelek perfected a quietly emotional American adaptation of the British shoegazer sound of the late 1980s and early '90s. His later work under the band name Sun Kil Moon explored a quieter, often acoustic sound. Along with his musical career, Kozelek dabbled in film work, both as a composer and an actor. Born and raised in the small industrial city of Massillon, OH, Kozelek relocated to San Francisco in 1989 and formed Red House Painters. Consisting of Kozelek on guitar and vocals, guitarist Gorden Mack, bassist Jerry Vessel and drummer Anthony Koutsos, the band signed to 4AD Records in 1992, having been recommended to label head Ivo Watts-Russell by Mark Eitzel, singer in fellow San Francisco indie rockers American Music Club. Red House Painters' debut album, Down Colorful Hill, consisted of demos the band had self-recorded over the previous three years, remixed by Watts-Russell and the label's house producer, John Fryer. This was followed by two albums, both released in 1993 and both officially untitled; fans called the albums Rollercoaster and Bridge, after the cover art of each. After 1995's Ocean Beach, the band ended...

As the singer-songwriter behind the band Red House Painters, guitarist Mark Kozelek perfected a quietly emotional American adaptation of the British shoegazer sound of the late 1980s and early '90s. His later work under the band name Sun Kil Moon explored a quieter, often acoustic sound. Along with his musical career, Kozelek dabbled in film work, both as a composer and an actor.

Born and raised in the small industrial city of Massillon, OH, Kozelek relocated to San Francisco in 1989 and formed Red House Painters. Consisting of Kozelek on guitar and vocals, guitarist Gorden Mack, bassist Jerry Vessel and drummer Anthony Koutsos, the band signed to 4AD Records in 1992, having been recommended to label head Ivo Watts-Russell by Mark Eitzel, singer in fellow San Francisco indie rockers American Music Club. Red House Painters' debut album, Down Colorful Hill, consisted of demos the band had self-recorded over the previous three years, remixed by Watts-Russell and the label's house producer, John Fryer. This was followed by two albums, both released in 1993 and both officially untitled; fans called the albums Rollercoaster and Bridge, after the cover art of each. After 1995's Ocean Beach, the band ended their relationship with 4AD Records and Mack left, replaced by Phil Carney.

The next Red House Painters release, Songs For A Blue Guitar (1996), was a Kozelek solo album in all but name, featuring no other members of the band. It was released on Supreme Recordings, an offshoot of Island Records owned by filmmaker and music fan John Hughes. The final Red House Painters album, Old Ramon, was recorded in 1998, but financial troubles at the label meant it remained unreleased until Kozelek bought the masters back from Island and released the album on Sub Pop Records in 2001. Dissolving the band, Kozelek made his proper solo debut with the EP Rock 'n' Roll Singer (2000), followed by the oddball What's Next To The Moon (2001), an album consisting entirely of songs written and recorded by AC/DC with their original singer Bon Scott, all drastically reworked into quiet acoustic songs. Red House Painters had often performed similarly re-imagined versions of classic rock hits, most notably turning Paul McCartney's disco-tinged "Silly Love Songs" into an 11-minute guitar workout reminiscent of classic Neil Young.

Around this time, Kozelek made his film debut in a supporting role in writer-director Cameron Crowe's love letter to his younger days as a teenage Rolling Stone reporter, "Almost Famous" (2000); Kozelek played Larry Fellows, taciturn bassist in the fictional rock band Stillwater, alongside fellow actors Billy Crudup (guitarist Russell Hammond), Jason Lee (singer and organist Jeff Bebe) and John Fedevich (drummer Ed Vallencourt). Kozelek also had a small role in Crowe's next film, "Vanilla Sky" (2001). Kozelek composed his first film score for the post-high school comedy-drama "Last Ball" (2001), and returned briefly to acting in the romantic comedy "Shopgirl" (2005), playing Luther, the music teacher of Jason Schwartzman's lead character, Jeremy.

In 2002, Kozelek formed a new band, Sun Kil Moon, named after Korean boxer Sung-Kil Moon. A fascination with boxing permeates the band's debut album Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003), including several songs about boxers who had died young. Sun Kil Moon's second album Tiny Cities (2005) was the first release on Kozelek's own label, Caldo Verde Records, and a return to Kozelek's fondness for unexpected covers: all 11 songs were originally performed by indie icons Modest Mouse. April (2008) marked a return to Kozelek's original material. Although its follow-up Admiral Fell Promises (2010) was credited to Sun Kil Moon, it was a solo release by Kozelek, performing for the first time exclusively on a Spanish-style nylon-string acoustic guitar. Kozelek kept his new instrument for Among the Leaves (2012), although several songs also featured other musicians. "On Tour" (2011), a documentary about a Sun Kil Moon tour, marked Kozelek's debut as a film director.

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