Saturday, December 20, 2014

28 Days of Christmas: Mark Kozelek - Sings Christmas Carols

Mark Kozelek has had a busy year. He released one of the year's most absolutely unfuckwithable albums in Benji (as Sun Kil Moon), started a feud with the War on Drugs that has devolved into something, strangely, both personal and parodic, released a few live records and capped everything off with an album of Christmas standards. Because, you know, why not? Mark Kozelek's Sings Christmas Carols features traditional fare like "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Away in a Manger," croony gems like "The Christmas Song" and "Christmastime is Here," and a cover of the Pretenders' "2000 Miles" that makes it sound like he was always meant to sing that song. Some of the more standard tunes feel a little rushed through so as to check off a list, and they're fine and all, but when he gets to sink his teeth in and make certain songs his own (Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas" is spun directly into Kozelek's wheelhouse) it's magic. If you like your Christmas songs hushed, gorgeous, and slightly depressive, this is the album for you. Sings Christmas Carols is a palate cleanser for all the stupid "War on Drugs Can Suck My Cock" business and a reminder that few artists are as expressive with an acoustic guitar than Mr. Kozelek.

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