I knew of Red House Painters, and would later become a fan of most everything by Mark Kozelek, but it was Sun Kil Moon's debut, Ghosts of the Great Highway, that was my starting point.
That record is still the finest Sun Kil Moon's ever released, and perhaps is a better album than the two I ranked higher, but ten years later, Kozelek has finally made something worthy of the anticipation Ghosts stirred in me.
Earlier this year, I referred to this collaboration between Kozelek and The Album Leaf's Jimmy LaValle as Postal Service for the older music fan. I think I really meant to call it Postal Service for those who like somber music.
Perhaps that odd comparison only pertains to a few songs, but I think it does a pretty good job of describing the combination of Kozelek's sometimes dark, and always introspective, folksiness and LaValle's understated brand of electro-pop.
I've seen this album on only one critical year-end list (and one friend's list), so you might not be able to trust my unique opinion that this is the best album of the year, but if "Somehow the Wonder of Life Prevails" doesn't make you want to listen to the rest, then
you're dead inside this probably isn't your thing.
Either way, thanks again for reading, for helping me mark my 10th anniversary, and for being a part of another year—albeit my least prolific in quite some time—of paying attention to what I have to say.
I hope your 2013 was as good as Mark Kozelek's was professionally (two different collaborations in my top 11), and mine was personally.
Happy New Year and best of luck in 2014.