What would Father John Misty say about Mark Kozelek? The warped Fear Fun bard just shared an eye-popping essay about Damien Jurado, who along with, say, Richard Buckner surely belongs in a canon of melancholic, ever-underappreciated guitar men alongside the Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters mastermind. On Sun Kil Moon’s excellent 2012 album Among the Leaves and its songs like “Track Number 8,” Kozelek consciously turned away from that mold, with disarmingly self-aware lyrics and wry humor that felt like a breakthrough.
“Micheline,” from Sun Kil Moon’s upcoming Benji (due out February 4 via Caldo Verde), is once again a stripped-down acoustic song with remarkably detailed, personal-seeming lyrics, though this time you’re less likely to chuckle than stare deeply, miserably into your beverage of choice. In other words, it’s an exquisite, haunting ballad, full of highly specific details about death that ultimately go back to the narrator discovering David Bowie’s Young Americans, watching Benji, and losing his grandmother. Jen Wood of the Postal Service fame and pianist Chris Connolly of Kozelek-featuring project Desertshore assist.
Also check out “Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes,” another mortality-obsessed Benji track, this one a talkin’-blues tirade that touches on the Ayatollah, James Gandolfini, and how “when I fuck too much I feel like I’m gonna have a heart attack.” Father John Misty probably feels him on that one.
Listen to “Micheline” over at Stereogum.