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Mark Kozelek at Circle Bar


For a guy who writes such patient music, Mark Kozelek can't sit still. Like fellow low-strung contemporaries and brothers-in-harms Bill Callahan, Will Oldham and Jason Molina, Kozelek has been a man in a band (Red House Painters) and a man as a band (Sun Kil Moon); here, as on much of the last two Sun Kil Moon albums, he's just a man, his tender drawl backed only by a nylon-stringed guitar handled as gently and carefully as a swaddled child. Those soft plucks and rippling arpeggios have couched Kozelek in Jose Gonzalez's loose-fitting nightdresses, and both 2010's lost-at-sea masterpiece Admiral Fell Promises and the May castaway Among the Leaves dabble in Spanish classical guitar and the kind of painfully pretty singing and songwriting that doubled as Nick Drake's and Elliott Smith's suicide notes. But his breathtaking lyrics now read like the giant exhale of a notoriously tight chest — whether directed at himself ("Sunshine in Chicago makes me sad/ My band played here a lot in the '90s when we had/ A lot of female fans and f—k, they all were cute/ Now I just sign posters for guys in tennis shoes"), his fallen peers ("Songwriting costs, it doesn't come free/ Ask Elliott Smith, ask Richie Lee/ Ask Mark Linkous, ask Shannon Hoon/ To get up on stage and sing you a tune") or the poor cities he tours ("Finland, Finland/ So many trees, John Denver would be pleased ... Denmark, Denmark/ Everybody's white, everyone rides bikes ... London, London/ It's all the rage — if your favorite color's beige.") The only person not laughing is his booking agent. Tickets $15. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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