Sun Kil Moon

Last updated

Sun Kil Moon
Sun Kil Moon Paris 2014.jpg
Sun Kil Moon performing at Le Divan du Monde, (Mark Kozelek, Eric Pollard, Vasco Espinheira) Paris 2014
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Folk rock, indie folk, [1] slowcore, alternative rock
Years active2002–present
Labels Caldo Verde
Associated acts Red House Painters, Jesu, Desertshore, Hunters Chorus
Members Mark Kozelek
Past members Tim Mooney
Anthony Koutsos
Geoff Stanfield
Vasco Espinheira
Jerry Vessel
Phil Carney [2]
Matt Boyer
Eric Pollard
Isabel Castelvi

Sun Kil Moon is an American folk rock act from San Francisco, California, founded in 2002. Initially a continuation of the defunct indie rock band Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon is now the primary recording moniker of vocalist and guitarist Mark Kozelek. The project is named after the Korean super flyweight boxer Sung-Kil Moon. [3]

Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock emerged from the folk music revival and the influence that the Beatles and other British Invasion bands had on members of that movement. Performers such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds—several of whose members had earlier played in folk ensembles—attempted to blend the sounds of rock with their preexisting folk repertoire, adopting the use of electric instrumentation and drums in a way previously discouraged in the U.S. folk community. The term "folk rock" was initially used in the U.S. music press in June 1965 to describe the Byrds' music.

Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock. As grunge and punk revival bands in the US and Britpop bands in the UK broke into the mainstream in the 1990s, it came to be used to identify those acts that retained an outsider and underground perspective. In the 2000s, as a result of changes in the music industry and the growing importance of the Internet, some indie rock acts began to enjoy commercial success, leading to questions about its meaningfulness as a term.

Red House Painters band

Red House Painters were an American rock band, formed in San Francisco, California in 1988. They were one of the most prominent acts associated with the slowcore/sadcore subgenre. Fronted by primary songwriter Mark Kozelek, the band also included drummer Anthony Koutsos and bass guitarist Jerry Vessel. Guitarists Gorden Mack and Phil Carney both performed with the band during separate six-year tenures.


Following the delayed release of Red House Painters' final studio album, Old Ramon (2001), vocalist and guitarist Kozelek began recording new material under the name Sun Kil Moon with bandmates Anthony Koutsos (drums) and Jerry Vessel (bass), alongside Geoff Stanfield and Tim Mooney. The resulting album, Ghosts of the Great Highway , was released in 2003 to widespread critical acclaim. The project's second studio album, Tiny Cities (2005), was composed entirely of Modest Mouse cover songs.

<i>Old Ramon</i> 2001 studio album by Red House Painters

Old Ramon is the sixth and final studio album by American indie rock band Red House Painters, released on April 10, 2001 on Sub Pop. Originally completed in 1998, band leader Mark Kozelek had to wait until 2001 to release the album. The band had previously been signed to Island/Supreme Records, but a series of major label mergers in the late '90s left the band without a label. This meant the album had to be shelved until three years later, when Kozelek managed to buy back the album from Island Records and Sub Pop signed the group.

Tim Mooney was an American drummer, producer, and sound engineer. He drummed in the Sleepers, Toiling Midgets, Negative Trend, Sun Kil Moon and American Music Club.

<i>Ghosts of the Great Highway</i> 2003 studio album by Sun Kil Moon

Ghosts of the Great Highway is the debut studio album by San Francisco quartet Sun Kil Moon, led by Red House Painters' founder Mark Kozelek, who composed all of the lyrics and music on this album. The other members are Anthony Koutsos, Geoff Stanfield, and Tim Mooney.

In 2008, the band released its third studio album, April . Recorded as a three-piece by Kozelek, Koutsos and Stanfield, the album was well received and featured guest vocal appearances from noted indie rock musicians Will Oldham and Ben Gibbard.

<i>April</i> (Sun Kil Moon album) 2008 studio album by Sun Kil Moon

April is the third studio album by American folk rock band Sun Kil Moon, released in the US on April 1, 2008 through Caldo Verde Records, and on April 18, 2008 in Japan via P-Vine Records. The album was recorded at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco and Well Recording in Seattle during a seven-month stretch from spring to late summer in 2007. The album was produced and written by Mark Kozelek. Will Oldham, Ben Gibbard and Eric Pollard lend their backing vocals throughout the album. The album also comes with a bonus disc of 4 alternate recordings.

Ben Gibbard American singer, songwriter and guitarist

Benjamin Gibbard is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist of the indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, with which he has recorded nine studio albums, and as one half of the electronica act the Postal Service. Gibbard released his debut solo album, Former Lives, in 2012, and a collaborative studio album, One Fast Move or I'm Gone (2009), with Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt's Jay Farrar.

Inspired by classical guitar music, Kozelek recorded Sun Kil Moon's fourth studio album, Admiral Fell Promises (2010), as a solo act, and continued to record mostly alone on its follow-up, Among the Leaves (2012). In 2013, Kozelek released three studio albums under his own name before releasing Sun Kil Moon's sixth studio album, Benji , in February 2014, to widespread critical acclaim and increased exposure, with the band releasing their seventh studio effort, Universal Themes, in 2015. Sun Kil Moon's eighth studio album, Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood , was released in February 2017, which was followed by their ninth studio album, This Is My Dinner, in November 2018. The tenth Sun Kil Moon studio album, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans , was released digitally on March 1st, 2019, and on CD on April 12, 2019.

Classical guitar acoustic wooden guitar with wide neck, strings made of nylon

The classical guitar is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. An acoustic wooden string instrument with strings made of gut or nylon, it is a precursor of the acoustic and electric guitars which use metal strings. The name guitar comes from Persian language, in which Tar means string. Tar is also the name of an Iranian instrument that could be the primary form of guitar. Classical guitars are derived from the Spanish vihuela and gittern in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, which later evolved into the seventeenth and eighteenth century Baroque guitar and later the modern classical guitar in the mid nineteenth century.

<i>Admiral Fell Promises</i> 2010 studio album by Sun Kil Moon

Admiral Fell Promises is the fourth studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, released on July 13, 2010 on Caldo Verde Records. Despite being released under the Sun Kil Moon moniker, the album features Mark Kozelek performing solo on acoustic nylon-string guitar. Along with the standard CD release, the album was also released on vinyl in October 2010, which includes liner notes, lyrics, and two bonus tracks recorded live in Saint-Malo, France.

<i>Among the Leaves</i> 2012 studio album by Sun Kil Moon

Among the Leaves is the fifth studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, released on May 29, 2012 on Caldo Verde Records. Similar to Sun Kil Moon's previous studio album, Admiral Fell Promises (2010), the album is predominantly performed by founding member Mark Kozelek on a nylon-string guitar.


Following the dissolution of Red House Painters after the tumultuous release of their last album, Old Ramon , Kozelek released a handful of solo recordings before forming Sun Kil Moon in 2002. The band's debut album, Ghosts of the Great Highway , was released in November 2003 by Jetset Records. It contains several songs concerned with true-life stories of deceased boxers, such as Mexican featherweight champion Salvador Sánchez, Filipino flyweight champion Pancho Villa, and also Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim, all three boxers died at the age of 23. The album was well received by critics, garnering an overall rating of 84/100 on [4]

Jetset Records was a New York-based indie rock record label. Founded by Shelley Maple in 1996, the label's first release was a reissue of German punk rock band The Golden Lemons' fourth album, Punkrock. The label has released music by a variety of independent bands, including Firewater, Sun Kil Moon and Mogwai.

Salvador Sánchez Mexican boxer

Salvador Sánchez Narváez was a Mexican boxer born in the town of Santiago Tianguistenco, Estado de México. Sanchez was the WBC and lineal featherweight champion from 1980 to 1982. Many of his contemporaries as well as boxing writers believe that, had it not been for his premature death, Sánchez could have gone on to become the greatest Featherweight boxer of all time. Sánchez died on August 12, 1982 in a car accident from Querétaro to San Luis Potosí He is also the uncle of Salvador Sánchez II.

Metacritic is a website that aggregates reviews of media products: films, TV shows, music albums, video games, and formerly, books. For each product, the scores from each review are averaged. Metacritic was created by Jason Dietz, Marc Doyle, and Julie Doyle Roberts in 1999. The site provides an excerpt from each review and hyperlinks to its source. A color of green, yellow or red summarizes the critics' recommendations. It has been described as the video game industry's "premier" review aggregator.

The band's follow-up Tiny Cities was released in November 2005 on Kozelek's own label Caldo Verde Records. The album covers eleven songs by the indie/alternative group Modest Mouse. Ghosts of the Great Highway was re-issued as a double CD in February 2007 on Caldo Verde. The second disc features six bonus tracks, including a cover of "Somewhere" written by Leonard Bernstein.

<i>Tiny Cities</i> 2005 studio album by Sun Kil Moon

Tiny Cities is the second studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, released November 1, 2005 on Caldo Verde Records. The album features the same lineup as the band's debut, Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003). This album was chosen as one of's Top 100 Editor's Picks of 2005.

Caldo Verde Records is a San Francisco-based indie rock and folk record label founded by Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon frontman Mark Kozelek in 2005. The label primarily features releases by Kozelek and Sun Kil Moon, but has also released albums by Jesu, Corrina Repp, Retribution Gospel Choir, and Kath Bloom. Photographer Nyree Watts is the commissioned artist for Caldo Verde, as almost all of the releases on the label feature her photography.

Modest Mouse American band

Modest Mouse is an American rock band formed in 1992 in Issaquah, Washington and currently based in Portland, Oregon. The founding members are lead singer/guitarist Isaac Brock, drummer Jeremiah Green, and bassist Eric Judy. Strongly influenced by Pavement, Pixies, XTC, and Talking Heads, the band rehearsed, rearranged, and recorded demos for almost two years before finally signing with small-town indie label K Records and releasing numerous singles.

Sun Kil Moon's third studio album April was released in April 2008 [5] and features guest vocals from Will Oldham and Ben Gibbard. The album was issued as a double CD, featuring a bonus disc of alternate recordings of album tracks. The album was met with further critical acclaim, including a 4.5/5-star rating from AllMusic [6] and 4-star reviews from Billboard , Mojo , The Boston Globe , and Drowned in Sound . [7]

Admiral Fell Promises was released on July 13, 2010, [5] [8] and whilst credited to Sun Kil Moon, only Kozelek plays on the record, on nylon stringed guitar, and vocals. [9]

Among The Leaves , Sun Kil Moon's fifth studio album, was released on May 29, 2012. Tim Mooney, the band's former drummer, died in June 2012. [10]

Sun Kil Moon's sixth studio album, Benji , was released in February 2014. [11] The record met with critical acclaim, [12] and was named in the Best of 2014 lists of Fact , [13] Stereogum, [14] Pitchfork, [15] Rough Trade, [16] Drowned in Sound, [17] Tiny Mix Tapes, [18] and the NME. [19] Soundblab selected it as the best album of 2014. [20]

Sun Kil Moon's seventh album of original material, Universal Themes , was released on June 2, 2015. [21] The album features contributions from drummer Steve Shelley, who previously collaborated with Kozelek on the album, Benji. [22]

On July 20, 2016 it was announced that Sun Kil Moon would release a new double album, Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood, on February 28, 2017. The announcement was accompanied by the release of a new song, God Bless Ohio. [23] The album was released on February 17, 2017 with Caldo Verde Records. [24] . Mark Kozelek subsequently toured Europe, South America, and the United States, both as a solo act and with Sun Kil Moon, to promote the album. [25]

Boxing references

Kozelek is fascinated with the sport of boxing, which was the inspiration for the Sun Kil Moon moniker as well as several of their songs including the song "Duk Koo Kim". [26] According to Kozelek:

Their backgrounds are extremely harsh and they work very hard to move up in their careers. I was in attendance at the Manny Pacquiao-Agapito Sánchez fight in San Francisco in 2001. When I heard Sanchez was murdered shortly after, (actually, it was four years later) it had a profound effect on me. It hurts when anyone dies young, but when you see the backgrounds of these guys and the path they've taken to try to find some light in their lives, it hurts to see them die young. [26]

Duk Koo Kim was a Korean boxer who died after a nationally televised bout with Ray Mancini on November 13, 1982. Mancini is from Youngstown, Ohio, which is very close to Kozelek's hometown of Massillon. The triumph of the local hero soon turned into a tragedy that included the suicide deaths of both Kim's mother and the bout's referee, Richard Green. [27]

The name Sun Kil Moon was inspired by that of boxer Moon Sung-kil. One of the band's songs, Pancho Villa, is named after the famous Filipino boxer of the same name, and it mentions Salvador Sánchez and Benny Paret. [28]

Band members

During live performances, Mark Kozelek is currently accompanied by:

Former members


Studio albums

Collaborations with Jesu

Soundtracks / songs in films or television

Related Research Articles

Mark Kozelek American musician

Mark Edward Kozelek is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and occasional actor. He is best known as the vocalist and primary recording artist of the indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, with whom he has recorded ten studio albums, and as the vocalist, guitarist and founding member of the indie rock band Red House Painters, with whom he recorded six studio albums from 1989 until 2001.

Little Drummer Boy Live is a double live collection by Mark Kozelek, released by his own label Caldo Verde Records on November 28, 2006. Former Red House Painters guitarist Phil Carney guests on guitar on some of the songs. The set is a limited edition release of 10,000 copies.

<i>The Finally LP</i> 2008 compilation album by Mark Kozelek

The Finally LP is a compilation album by Mark Kozelek. The CD was released on December 9, 2008 via Caldo Verde Records. From the press release:

<i>Perils from the Sea</i> 2013 studio album by Mark Kozelek and Jimmy LaValle

Perils from the Sea is a collaborative studio album by American singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek and multi-instrumentalist Jimmy LaValle, released on April 30, 2013 on Caldo Verde Records.

<i>Live at Phoenix Public House Melbourne</i> 2013 live album by Mark Kozelek

Live at Phoenix Public House Melbourne is a live album by American singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek, released on February 19, 2013 on Caldo Verde Records. Recorded on June 11, 2012, and released on the same day as Kozelek's covers album, Like Rats (2013), the album predominately features tracks from the then-recently released Sun Kil Moon album, Among the Leaves (2012).

<i>Benji</i> (album) 2014 studio album by Sun Kil Moon

Benji is the sixth studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, released on 11 February 2014 on Caldo Verde Records. Self-produced by primary recording artist Mark Kozelek, the album shares its name with the 1974 film Benji, and was recorded between March and August 2013 at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco.

<i>Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols</i> 2014 studio album by Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols is a Christmas album by American singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek. It was released on November 4, 2014, through Kozelek's own record label, Caldo Verde Records.

<i>Live at Biko</i> 2014 live album by Mark Kozelek

Live at Biko is a live album by American singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek. It was released on July 1, 2014, through Kozelek's own record label Caldo Verde Records.

<i>Universal Themes</i> 2015 studio album by Sun Kil Moon

Universal Themes is the seventh studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, released on June 2, 2015 on Caldo Verde Records.

<i>Jesu/Sun Kil Moon</i> 2016 studio album by Jesu and Sun Kil Moon

Jesu / Sun Kil Moon is a collaborative studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon and British experimental act Jesu, released on January 21, 2016 on Caldo Verde Records and Rough Trade. The album also features guest musicians Will Oldham, members of Low, Rachel Goswell of Slowdive, and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. Jesu and Sun Kil Moon including drummer Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth played six shows in February and March 2016 to support the album.

<i>Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood</i> 2017 studio album by Sun Kil Moon

Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood is the eighth studio album by the American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, self-produced by primary recording artist Mark Kozelek. The album was released on 17 February 2017 on Caldo Verde Records. It is a double album and comprises 16 tracks in total, being Sun Kil Moon's longest album to date.

<i>Yellow Kitchen</i> 2017 studio album by Mark Kozelek & Sean Yeaton

Yellow Kitchen is a collaboration album between American musician and singer Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon and Sean Yeaton, bassist of Parquet Courts, released on June 30, 2017 by Caldo Verde Records, though available for streaming shortly prior to that. Kozelek and Yeaton met at a Dutch festival in summer 2016, and recorded and self-produced Yellow Kitchen from December 2016 to May 2017 in the United States. Guest appearances on the album include Steve Shelley and Jim White on drums and Holly Throsby and Will Oldham on vocals.

I Also Want to Die in New Orleans is the tenth studio album by American band Sun Kil Moon. It was released in March 2019 under Caldo Verde Records.


  1. Lathan, Ryan. "Sun Kil Moon: Benji". PopMatters . Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  2. O'Connor, Rob (April 2010). "An Interview with Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon". Caldo Verde Records. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  3. Bussel, Andrea, "Mark Kozelek", Rockpile, archived from the original on February 19, 2005
  4. "Ghosts Of The Great Highway Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc.
  5. 1 2 "Sun Kil Moon: The Official Website for Sun Kil Moon".
  6. Jurek, Thom. "April – Sun Kil Moon: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corp.
  7. "April Reviews, Ratings, and Credits and More". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc.
  8. Dombal, Ryan (April 26, 2010). "Sun Kil Moon Announce New Album". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc.
  9. Deusner, Stephen M. (July 13, 2010). "Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Sun Kil Moon: Admiral Fell Promises" . Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  10. Minsker, Evan (June 16, 2012). "R.I.P. Sun Kil Moon, American Music Club Drummer Tim Mooney". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc.
  11. "Sun Kil Moon Announces New Album Benji, Shares "Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes"". Pitchfork.
  12. "Critic Reviews for Benji – Metacritic". Metacritic . CBS Interactive . Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  13. Fact staff (December 9, 2014). "The 50 best albums of 2014 – FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music". Fact magazine . Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  14. Stereogum, Chris (December 2, 2014). "The 50 Best Albums Of 2014 – Stereogum". Stereogum . Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  15. Powell, Mike (December 17, 2014). "Staff Lists: The 50 Best Albums of 2014". Pitchfork Media . Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  16. Rough Trade staff (December 2014). "Albums of the Year 2014". Rough Trade . Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  17. Adams, Sean (December 16, 2014). "Drowned in Sound's 50 Favourite Albums of 2014". Drowned in Sound . Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  18. Rubz, M (December 2014). "2014: Favorite 50 Music Releases of 2014 | Staff Feature | Tiny Mix Tapes". Tiny Mix Tapes . Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  19. NME staff (December 2014). "NME's Top 50 Albums Of 2014 | NME.COM". NME . IPC Media . Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  20. Penczak, Jeff. "Top 10 Releases of 2014". Soundblab. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  21. "Sun Kil Moon Announces Universal Themes". Pitchfork Media. February 18, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  22. Minsker, Evan. "Sun Kil Moon Announces Universal Themes". . Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  23. "Sun Kil Moon Announces New Album, Shares New Song "God Bless Ohio": Listen". Pitchfork Media . Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  24. Breihan, Tom (February 15, 2017). "Stream Sun Kil Moon Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood". Stereogum. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  25. "Sun Kil Moon" . Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  26. 1 2 Ortega, Mark (February 11, 2012). "Famous Fight Fan: Mark Kozelek". The Queensberry Rules.
  27. "25 Years Later: The Death Of Duk Koo Kim", Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 13, 2007
  28. "Sun Kil Moon – Pancho Villa Lyrics – SongMeanings". SongMeanings. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  29. 1 2 "Mark Kozelek and Sun Kil Moon Bring Quiet Storms to Town Hall". Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  30. "Vasco Espinheira dos Blind Zero em digressão com os Sun Kil Moon". March 13, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2017.