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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Man
First listen to "Lost Verses," the sweeping, majestic 10-minute opening track to Mark Kozelek's new album "April" made me think, 'This is the perfect distillation of everything amazing and good he has done as an artist in his career.' All the hallmarks are there, the beautifuly played, hypnotic and well-recorded guitar parts, the voice flat-yet-full and mournful, the...
Published on April 1, 2008 by Boxodreams

versus
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars kozelek is in a rut
sun kil moon is simply an extension of mark kozelek and RHP. he writes, sings and produces everything. there are side musicians, but i dare you to point out a track they play a major role on.

for those who saw kozelek tour the 'tiny cities' cd in 2006-7 with phil carney, you will not be surprised. kozelek created soundscapes with the 2 guitars and actually...
Published on May 19, 2008 by jjp


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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Man, April 1, 2008
This review is from: April (Audio CD)
First listen to "Lost Verses," the sweeping, majestic 10-minute opening track to Mark Kozelek's new album "April" made me think, 'This is the perfect distillation of everything amazing and good he has done as an artist in his career.' All the hallmarks are there, the beautifuly played, hypnotic and well-recorded guitar parts, the voice flat-yet-full and mournful, the lyrics that remind you of your own missing friends and lost memories... It's gorgeous. And yet, rather than what we would call "growth" and expansion, Kozelek continues to drill down deeper into his obsessions. That means if, like me, you have been following him since the dawn of the Red House Painters, you know what this sounds like. The grades are noted in levels of gorgeousness, not newness. For a neophyte fan, this is a perfect introduction into everything that makes Kozelek so distinctive and moving. But I found myself drifting at times during the middle cuts. One song is a chord-for-chord take, with new lyrics and melody, of "Rock N Roll Singer," already a reimagining of an old AC/DC song. The guitars and drums have the exact same fuzz and sound to them. It feels like a complete lift, and for the fans -- almost as obsessive as Kozelek is -- it should not be enough. It's irksome.
I made sure I didn't play "April" for the first time until very late at night/early in the morning because when everyone else has gone to bed or out of the house, that's when Kozelek's flower blooms -- in the hard hours. It certainly worked its way into me at its best points, and there are many. It is more of the very good same, but same nonetheless. How that is judged will be deeply personal. Again, for newcomers, by all means, this is a great introduction to Kozelek. Longtime fans, of course, will want to stay close by as the artist performing as Sun Kil Moon continues to build his monument to loss.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Worth Reliving Over and Over Again!, April 8, 2008
By 
Cale E. Reneau "Mound of Wires" (Conroe, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: April (Audio CD)
There's this trend in music today, that when you have a song that is 7 minutes or longer, it has to be "epic." That is to say that at some point in that 7 minutes, preferably at the end, there needs to be this triumphant climax. The rest of the song either builds up to that point, or maintains the epicness of it all. Apparently, Mark Kozelek has never received a memo on this notion. As Sun Kil Moon, his songs often far surpass the 7-minute mark, but almost always remain strangely restrained - forcing the listener to either embrace his style of music, or reject it for something more "exciting."

His debut album, Ghosts of the Great Highway is still getting regular plays on my iPod to this day! Songs like "Carry Me Ohio" and "Glenn Tipton" are haunting tales, told over mysterious guitars that I don't think I'll ever tire of. Naturally, I was excited when I heard that he would finally be releasing some new original material. It's been almost 5 years since we last heard from Sun Kil Moon (when not covering Modest Mouse, that is), and I am pleased to say that the wait makes everything about April better.

Like its predecessor, April doesn't dwell in the conventions of modern music; even in the indie realm. It slowly meanders through its 11 tracks, taking the listener on warm journey. Kozelek paints the most eloquent pictures with his words - of heartache, love, regret, and hope. On the album opener, "Lost Verses," he croons, "I've risen up from the dead/With the burning leaves of autumn/If only for one last chance/That all of whom have been defeated/To put on my father's wool coat/To smell my mother's fragrances and perfumes/To find my young brothers and sisters/To never leave or let them go." Such an image is vivid enough for most artists to write an entire song about, but for Kozelek it's part of an even greater vision.

As expected, many of the songs on April can seem repetitive. More often than not, Kozelek will take a single guitar riff and stretch it out over the length of the song, adding and removing layers as it moves along. Strangely, this has never really bothered me about his music. His voice, a mid-range whine or croon, has always captivated me and blended perfectly with the music that surrounds it. As such, I've often found myself completely lost in his songs, suddenly realizing that minutes have past while I enjoy them. For example, while listening to "Tonight in Bilbao" for the first time, I completely drifted off (in a good way) until the song's curveball coda at the 7:30 mark. "Mesmerizing" is an understatement, as these songs are just downright beautiful pieces of music.

Taken as a whole, April, can be somewhat draining, perhaps even tedious to some. But if the whole is in fact the sum of it's parts, then this album can only be considered a great achievement for Kozelek. Every song on this album is a beautiful, well-paced work of art. It is definitely not for everyone. April is an album that was made with patience, and performed with patience. Therefore, a bit of patience may be required from an uninitiated listener. But when it finally does hit you, prepare for hours and hours of entrancement and reflection. Great music has the ability to bring out some strange emotions. April has, at once, reminded me of that and made me glad for it.

Key Tracks:
1. "Lost Verses"
2. "Lucky Man"
3. "Unlit Hallway"
4. "Harper Road"
5. "Blue Orchids"

7 out of 10 Stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun Kil Moon - Is "April" Mark Kozelek's masterwork?, May 4, 2009
This review is from: April (Audio CD)
I generally hate the description but this album is a slow burner. The previous Sun Kil Moon album "Ghosts of the great highway" is in many respects a much more accessible and conventional album and contains the brilliant openers Glenn Tipton, the wonderful "Carry me Ohio" (the acoustic version is equally immense) plus the greatest song Neil Young never wrote "Salvador Sanchez". April alternatively has a very slow, incremental and meandering quality about it. Mark Kozelek is not going to be rushed. Three songs either exceed or touch 10 minutes and are all the better for it.

When I first bought April I played it a couple of times and must admit that that it did seem somewhat repetitive. All great albums however "reveal" themselves to you with the passage of time and perseverance. The subtleties and nuances emerge; quiet background melodies catch your ear and the songs burn deep. Lost Verses is an example. Mark Kozelek has penned one of his greatest compositions here as good as anything by the Red House Painters and matching the brilliant Katy's Song. The lyrics are achingly beautiful as he rises from bed and contemplates leaving a relationship

"Came out from under her warm sheets
Into the brisk late October
If only for one last hope
I wanted my time with you to be over"

It leads to a journey around San Francisco reflecting on the things that we all deeply care about; family, relationships, nature, the changing seasons and more. Then at 8 minutes the song pauses and turns in a joyful and uplifting guitar solo which is absolutely perfect. Further delights follow with Moorestown, Tonight in Bilbao and the Unlit Hallway which has the god like genius of Will Oldham on backing vocals. Heron Blue has a beautiful guitar work and is almost medieval with its folk underpinnings while Tonight the sky using the guitar riff from Neil Young's Ohio to tell a fated relationship (Kozelek speciality) which is subjected to forces "(un)til powers unrelenting, pulled us apart".

Ultimately April will not be everyone's cup of tea, try it on Amazon.com and see whether you like it. Its tone is as wintry as Bon Iver's "For Emma" and its sombre epic ballads are as far removed from the charts as is humanly possible. Mark Kozelek writes music for grown ups, for contemplation and reflection. I suspect he cares not a jot if it sells or not. Indeed "hurrah" that Caldo Verde his record label stuck with him. If you want "sun and fireworks" get the superb Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion or Grizzly Bears "yellow house". Alternatively on those times when you want to engage both your head and your heart "April" provides a melancholy but ultimately uplifting answer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another gem, April 7, 2008
By 
Joseph Geni (Evanston, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: April (Audio CD)
Sun Kil Moon fans should not really expect anything startlingly different on this record from his previous entries. It has the same delicate intricacies of Ghosts of the Great Highway, and many of the same timbres of Kozelek's solo cover records. Plus, a number of these tracks he's already played live and are available on the live double-disc Little Drummer Boy. (These songs, such as Unlit Hallway, have been expanded with harmonies and arrangements here.) There are some interesting new rhythmic pulses and timbral tweaks -- this record is a bit mellower than Ghosts, even though you probably thought that was not possible, and there's a greater use of banjo to give it an even more haunting sound. Thematically it is a bit different, focusing more on relationship songs and less on lonesome roads and long-forgotten boxers of the early 20th century.

But overall, this is the perfect follow-up record, and high time. Kozelek, in his solo career, has hit upon a blissfully melancholic sound. These songs are long, meandering, gorgeous. Get this disc.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, as usual, April 2, 2008
By 
James Moore "Groovy Decoy" (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: April (Audio CD)
I'm not going to do a song-by-song annotation of the CD, but instead I'll just say that if you like what Kozelek does, you will really like this CD. I lucked across a used copy of "White Christmas" at Half Price Books last month, and I listened to that obsessively until I received my copy of "April" in the mail, which is just as good. Yes, as the first reviewer asserted, there's not any new ground here. But I don't think that's what's important to Kozelek. I sense that he's more about expressing emotion through song, and he does that exceptionally well. If you can get your hands on the double-CD version of this (I preordered it from Caldo Verde), it's worth it, since there are a couple of alternate versions that I think outshine the originals. In my estimation, "April" is right up there with "Ghosts" and "Songs for a Blue Guitar" as the pinnacle of Kozelek's craft. I highly recommend it. If you aren't sure about buying the entire CD, buy "Lost Verses" from ITunes for .99 and have a listen. It's brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands Down One of the Best Folk Records of 2008, May 27, 2009
By 
This review is from: April (Audio CD)
Recording under Red House Painters since the early nineties, Mark Kozelek has fashioned a career out of reinventing the once tired singer/songwriter genre into a veritable melange of genre-bending conventions. After six albums under this name, Kozelek felt it was time for a change and shifted to the current name Sun Kil Moon. In 2003, he released his first album under this new title, called "Ghosts of the Great Highway". "Ghosts" is an epic record punctuated with the wry, ironic view of the world as only Mark Kozelek could craft.

Being an ardent fan of Kozelek for years, I hadn't even realized Mr. Kozelek was recording under a new moniker until two years ago when I caught word of the sublime re-release of "Ghosts", which also included a bonus disc (containing the must-have instrumental "Arrival"). I never got into the albums of cover songs he released after "Ghosts", though I did entirely enjoy his gorgeous cover of John Denver's "I'm Sorry", which appeared on the tribute record he produced.

The latest offering from Kozelek hit stores the first of April 2008. Those who pre-ordered the album from his website received the album about a week earlier - and the first two thousand and eight copies were hand signed by the man himself. The album also includs a four track bonus disc of alternate cuts from the album, including: "Tonight In Bilbao", "The Light", "Like The River", and "Tonight The Sky."

Longtime fans will knowingly smile at the play disc's length: approximately seventy-five minutes spread over eleven tracks. Predictably, the song lengths are occasionally a bit self-indulgent, but rarely does this detract from the effect. Indeed, most of his compositions are well-suited for this sort of longplay format. Providing supporting vocals are Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and Will Oldham (also known as Bonnie 'Prince' Billy), both of which were perfect choices to complement the work here.

Stylistically, whether recording under Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters, or just simply Mark Kozelek - the end result is always the same. You know you're going to get brilliantly evocative, impassioned instrumentation set to Kozelek's wry, penetrative lyrics. The sound has become something of a trademark, so much so that Kozelek's music has been recognized even during an unheard, instrumental cut.

This consistency makes "April" an easy decision. Anyone who has enjoyed an album of Kozelek's is practically guaranteed to adore the latest. It is perfect music for spring, for April, or for anyone with a heart - broken or otherwise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what talent sounds like, April 3, 2008
This review is from: April (Audio CD)
I agree with the first two reviewers on the major points. I would just add that while this is not groundbreaking material for Kozelek, I think it is his best. Further, there just are not very many artists around who can pull off an album like this.

If you want to hear one beautiful song, go ahead and download "Verses" or "Moorestown". If you are interested in a very listenable album that is artistic brilliance at the same time, this is it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... outstanding from start to finish, January 1, 2009
This review is from: April (Audio CD)
Sun Kil Moon (the band behind main writer/vocalist Mark Kozelek) has been at it since the early part of this decade, but I've only recently (as in: the last 6 months) discovered these guys, thanks to internet-only WOXY (Bam! The Future of Rock and Roll), which brings the best indie-rock music in the country, bar none. This is the band's 3rd album.

"April" (11 tracks, 74 min.) brings a lot of long and pensive tracks, which generally work very well. This is a mood piece, no doubt. The bar is set by the initial 2 tracks, the 10 min. acoustic "The Lights" and the 8 min. electric "The Light", the latter somehow reminding me of Neil Young, of all people. Several of the next several tracks offer Mark Kozalek just solo with his acoustic guitar, just beautiful. Another highlight towards the end of the album is yet another 10 min. track, "Tonight in Bilbao", just beautiful. In all, this is a great album, and one I have been playing a LOT in the last couple of weeks.

The CD that I got came with a bonus CD (4 tracks, 26 min.) which brings alternate versions (early versions, I'm guessing from hearing them) of 4 tracks from the proper album: Tonight in Bilbao, The Light, Like the River, and Tonight the Sky. Not essential, but nice nevertheless. I haven't had the chance yet to see these guys live, but I am hoping that 2009 will bring me that opportunity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Kozelek in fine fettle on April, April 10, 2011
This review is from: April (Audio CD)
April is one of those albums that I never tire of. While Mark Kozelek can be one gloomy gus whether his material is presented as Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon (as this album is) or Mark Kozelek, his music is definitely a lovely place to wallow in. April is my favourite Kozelek offering next to the Red House Painters' Ocean Beach. The songs are all terrific; Lost Verses is revelatory, like a masters' class in songwriting. What continues to impress me is how much Kozelek's intricate guitar work has blossomed with each release. The fact that the new one, the excellent Admiral Fell Promises finds Kozelek playing in a more classically influenced style shows the guy is an accomplished guitarist. Anthony Koutsos and Geoff Stanfield are the main band on April. Ben Gibbard, Bonnie Prince Billy and Eric Pollard lend some wonderful vocal work. There's a generous 70 minutes plus of music here and that it's all good is quite a feat. There will always be those who make the Neil Young comparisons like that's a bad thing, but the truth is while Kozelek sometimes wears his influences on his sleeve, his canon of work has been unique and varied in its own right. If you buy Lost Verses you must also pick-up Lost Verses: Live.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An indescribably lovely album, November 7, 2009
This review is from: April (Audio CD)
I was a big fan of Mark Kozelek, both with his former band Red House Painters and as a solo performer (though performing under the name Sun Kil Moon). An objective sign of my love "Tonight the Sky" and only a few spots below that is "Lost Verses." What makes their high rank more interesting is that both songs are around ten minutes long, which means that they not only got more plays than the several thousand other songs on my iPod, but vastly more minutes as well. But they are entrancing, hypnotic and pensive. They also sound like Kozelek wrote them after a listening binge in which he replayed Neil Young's ZUMA 59,000 times. Actually, a lot of the songs on the album sound more than a little like Neil, which is obviously not at all a bad thing.

While I love a lot of Kozelek's prior work - in particular Red House Painter's first two albums and OCEAN BEACH and Sun Kil Moon's GHOSTS OF THE HIGHWAY - this is definitely my favorite of his entire output. And like I said, an album you can listen to over and over again.
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April
April by Sun Kil Moon (Audio CD - 2008)
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