Mark Kozelek

Nights LP: 12 Songs by Mark Kozelek (Live & Rare Versions: 1996-2007)

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Available for purchase only with the lyrics collection Nights of Passed Over, Nights LP is exactly what its subtitle labels it: "Twelve Songs by Mark Kozelek (Live & Rare Versions: 1996-2007)." It goes without saying that only die-hard Kozelek fans need apply, as most of the tracks are live, demo, or stripped-down acoustic versions of songs released under his own name, with Sun Kil Moon, or with Red House Painters. Four of the Red House Painters songs featured in different form here originally appeared on the somewhat maligned Old Ramon, the other on Ocean Beach. Fans who might not appreciate the heavy rock vibes and distorted guitars of Old Ramon will likely find these stripped-down versions more touching and rich, though the first two tracks here don't see Kozelek at his most emotive. Kozelek is notorious for sometimes performing live with a wide emotional disconnect from his audience. "Leo and Luna" is the only track that might considered new, though it was compiled on See You on the Moon: Songs for Kids of All Ages. Like the sweet Old Ramon song "Wop-A-Din-Din," featured in a nice, somber live version here, "Leo and Luna" concerns itself with the felines in Kozelek's life. This "malmo version" of "Cruiser" and demo version of Rock 'n' Roll Singer's "Metropol 47" fare much better than their original versions, the former a breezier take that reveals nuance obscured by Old Ramon's busy production, the latter a delicately picked and more satisfying take on a song that once grated a bit with its dissonance and intentionally sloppy guitar work. It would have been nice to see a broader range of Red House Painters albums covered. Nights LP isn't any kind of revelation for Kozelek fans, but it's an interesting way to hear his songs in a new light without the sometimes noisy studio tricks that colored the album versions.

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