Next month, San Francisco's Mark Kozelek will release his sixth album under the name Sun Kil Moon. The album is called Benji, and like most of Kozelek's work, it's filled with poetic ruminations often about episodes in Kozelek's own life, set to glistening acoustic guitars, or, in some cases, brisk full-band arrangements. Kozelek is a devastating lyricist and songwriter, so it's interesting to get a peek into his mind this week in an Op-Ed he wrote for The New York Times. Like Kozelek's songs, the piece begins with a discussion of something specific -- the Led Zeppelin film The Song Remains the Same -- and spirals outward from there, encircling people and stories from Kozelek's childhood in Ohio as he explores a new song titled, simply, "I Watched the Film The Song Remains the Same":
There is also a reference to an old friend of mine named Chris Waller, who smoked pot and fished and did the best Bon Scott impression I've ever heard (he could sing "Touch Too Much" and hit every note), but Chris got bumped off a moped and died when he was only 13. He was overdue to make an appearance in one of my songs, and he's in good company on this album.
Though it's one of my least favorite memories, there is an odd reference to a kid I sucker punched on a playground when I was in elementary school (someone dared me). The incident always bothered me, and this is my very belated apology.
The way this song drifts in and out of different realities and memories is a lot like the movies -- weaving documentary, imagination and memory throughout, always coming back to the music.
As always with Kozelek, the song -- and the article -- are about much more than one thing, but they're told through everyday memories and experiences. Read the piece here, and below listen below to two new songs from the new Sun Kil Moon album, which is out Feb. 4 on Caldo Verde Records.