Sun Kil moon looks toward 'April'


NEW YORK -- Mark Kozelek's unique interpretive bent (AC/DC, John Denver, Modest Mouse) has been an integral part of his work with Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon and as a solo artist.

But his original compositions have always packed more of an emotional punch, and their impact is stronger than ever on Sun Kil Moon's "April," the proper follow-up to 2003's "Ghosts of the Great Highway," the second-best-selling album of Kozelek's career.

The trademark sprawling rockers ("Tonight in Bilbao," "The Light") are present on "April," due April 1 via Kozelek's own Caldo Verde label, as are devastating snapshots of crumbled relationships ("Moorestown," the solo acoustic "Blue Orchids"). Elsewhere, cult favorite indie singer-songwriter Will Oldham guests on "Unlit Hallway" and "Like the River."

"I heard his voice in there, so I mailed him the songs," Kozelek said of Oldham, whom he met in the late '90s during an in-store at San Francisco's Amoeba Music. "In very Will Oldham style, he turned them around almost overnight. He added so much color. I think my favorite part of the whole album is his back-ups on 'Unlit Hallway.'"

"Many of the songs on this record do deal with a certain relationship, which does give it a certain theme," Kozelek said, "but I wasn't thinking about it, or constructing it that way. I don't really think about stuff like that when putting a record together, which is probably why many of my records are scattered musically, and subject-wise."

Still, fans may hear musical and narrative parallels between the last album's epic "Duk Koo Kim" and "Tonight in Bilbao," which runs more than nine minutes.

"I've played it solo acoustic during some recent live shows, but I've not put it together yet with a band," Kozelek said of the latter track. "It was pieced together so meticulously in the studio, so it hasn't really been given life yet, the way 'Duk Koo Kim' was. Red House Painters played it live for a year or so before it was ever recorded, so I knew exactly what to do with it in the studio."

Kozelek will play some solo shows after "April" hits stores, beginning April 16 in Seattle, and will also tour under the Sun Kil Moon later in the year. In addition, he produced the self-titled debut from Low frontman Alan Sparhawk's Retribution Gospel Choir side project, due March 18 via Caldo Verde.

Here is the track list for "April":

"Lost Verses"
"The Light"
"Lucky Man"
"Unlit Hallway"
"Heron Blue"
"Harper Road"
"Tonight the Sky"
"Like the River"
"Tonight in Bilbao"
"Blue Orchids"