Mark Kozelek+Jennifer O’Conner

Having made pensive indie folk and indie rock for more than two decades, both on his own and in groups Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon, Mark Kozelek now seems to be touring just for the sake of it. Of course, his music has proven that he rarely feels content. Opener Jennifer O’Connor, on the other hand, appears to be doing everything she can to keep busy and loves doing it: the indie-folk songstress curates a singer/songwriter series called Tower of Song at Brooklyn’s Rock Shop, featuring some of her favorite songwriters, and is currently recording a new album.

Fri., March 18, 8 p.m., 2011


Mark Kozelek+Jarrod Gorbel

As usual, Mark Kozalek sounds as though he’s delivering a Cormac McCarthy novel’s worth of bad news on Admiral Fell Promises, his latest release as Sun Kil Moon. This time, he’s working solo, accompanying songs laced with drift and doubt on a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar he fingerpicks with Spanish speed. Jarrod Gorbel, of the Honorary Title, will perform music from his upcoming solo album, Devil’s Made a New Friend.

Mon., July 26, 9 p.m., 2010


Sun Kil Moon’s April

On indie rock’s color wheel, Mark Kozelek is a stubborn gray. Amid the poppy reds of the New Pornographers, the quirky greens of Grizzly Bear, and the fervent purples of the Arcade Fire, he’s the hoary bard of rainy mornings and smoky bars—the cloud over your Sunday picnic. With the Red House Painters, as a solo artist, and now with his third record as Sun Kil Moon, Kozelek has cast himself as the archetype of introspection, the Singer-Songwriter.

On April, Kozelek appears more immersed in his somber persona than ever before. It’s a massive record: a full 74 minutes of soft finger-picking, half-time tempos, and his barrel-aged tenor. In other words, April feels like twice its length. Its 11 tracks are a study in dynamic uniformity: a sunset in slow motion. April hits its stride with the languid 12-string guitar that introduces opener “Lost Verses” and never lets off. Whether Kozelek is looking for forgiveness or not, nine-minute folk dirges weren’t the way to make up for 2005’s Tiny Cities, Sun Kil Moon’s much-maligned 30-minute album of Modest Mouse covers.

Of course, there’s a reason why Kozelek became one of sad-folk’s premier character actors, and there are certainly occasions on April where he nails the role. Not only is “Moorestown” under five minutes long, it’s also gut-wrenchingly beautiful: a lost-love tale told through chiming guitar and pliant strings. See also “Harper Road” and “Tonight in Bilboa” for the singer’s endearing affinity for geography, autobiography, and gymnastic fretwork.

Koz (as he is known to the initiated) is a master of the cozy ballad—a claim his latest record gives no cause to dispute. A song or two will keep you warm and contented, but take in the full album and April will smother you worse than a down comforter in July.

Mark Kozelek plays the Highline Ballroom June 13,