The Finally LP – Mark Kozelek (2008)

The Finally LP cover
The Finally LP cover

We go from the crazy energy of Bad Brains to slow calm  Mark Kozelek. Kozelek’s music may be vastly different from Bad Brains in scope, but there is intensity in Kozelek’s songs nevertheless. He is one of a few artist today who are revered for their songwriting. Mark Eitzel is another that comes to mind.

While both are well-known figureheads behind other projects, Kozelek has a higher profile in the indie connoisseur music world. That could be considered a backhanded compliment considering that whenever any one of these guys released an album, it became a critical favorite and a chart no show.

Kozelek may be the more successful of the two, in part to a slightly heavier touring and recording schedule, after all there were three projects dear to his heart: his solo work, Sun Kill Moon and Red House Painters. His own material is always highly anticipated by his small but growing fan-base, but Kozelek has built a solid reputation for re-interpreting other people’s songs.

On The Finally LP, these songs were gathered together and released as a 10 song CD (or vinyl LP with 2 extra songs). Most of the songs had been floating around on various tribute albums or heard in live performances. His renditions of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” was sometimes a particularly moving way to end a live performance. Other favorites like “Lazy” from fellow slowcore act Low was another way Kozelek would strip songs down to reveal subtle melodies, even on super slow compositions from a band like Low.

There were two previously unreleased songs written by Kozelek on this album, the beautiful “Piano Song” and closer “Gaping Mouth. While The Finally LP contained sparse and introspective covers from well-known artist like Bob Mould and Jim Morrison, most of the material came from lower profile artist like Kath Bloom (Finally). The somewhat obscure song choices certainly were not designed to win over new fans for Kozelek’s work. Like his other work, his singing to the choir was a gift to fans. This album would be mostly ignored except on the fringes of college radio or as an occasional CD selection at Starbucks.

For fans, The Finally LP collects difficult to find tracks together on one album, allowing listeners the chance to hear another side of Kozelek’s work. He remains one of the best songwriters in the business and is busy one at that. He released music from Sun Kil Moon as well as a solo album in 2014.

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