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No 'Lost Verses' In Sun Kil Moon's Epic

To at least one generation of mopes, Mark Kozelek is a patron saint: As leader of Red House Painters, he made some of the most exquisitely sad, slow-burning music of the '90s. In the years since that band's demise, Kozelek has mostly moved sideways, recording several albums in which he proved his skill at finding the brooding underbelly of AC/DC (the solo What's Next to the Moon) and Modest Mouse (Tiny Cities), the latter of which he tackled with the help of his Red House Painters-esque band, Sun Kil Moon.

Fortunately, Sun Kil Moon remains remarkably adept at crafting somber, epic ballads like the gorgeous "Lost Verses," which opens the recent April. Affecting and engrossing in spite of — or perhaps because of — its nearly 10-minute running time, "Lost Verses" would have fit seamlessly on Red House Painters' self-titled 1994 masterpiece (the one with the rollercoaster on the cover).

Skimming across some of Kozelek's favorite themes — the changing seasons, evocative scenery, the pursuit of warmth and comfort — "Lost Verses" sounds like an abridged guide to what makes him tick as a songwriter. (There it is: the only time this song and the word "abridged" will ever appear in a sentence together.) As such, it's both a fine introduction for the uninitiated and a stirring progress report on a career that hasn't stopped generating grand highlights.

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This story originally ran on April 25, 2008.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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