The Red House Painters’ Mark Kozelek has written some of the most luxuriously sad and wistful songs of the 90s, which together with his band’s reverb-drenched sound made a perfect fit for the 4AD Records label. Celebrated for poetic lyrics extolling the virtues of innocence, and simple but haunting melodies, Kozelek also has a wry sense of humour that has resulted in some surprising cover choices, including ethereal takes on songs by KISS, AC/DC and The Cars. The Red House Painters was primarily Kozelek with minimal backing, and the band’s input became increasingly less of a factor on later, more acoustic-based albums. After four full-length releases and an EP on 4AD, the Painters recorded two more albums for other labels: 1996’s widely loved (and comparatively gruffer-sounding) Songs For A Blue Guitar; and the similarly rootsy Old Ramon which, although made in 1998, did not find its home on Sub Pop Records until 2001. Kozelek released some solo work, and went on to form the relatively rocking but still subdued, Sun Kil Moon (with Painters’ drummer Anthony Kousos) in the 00s.
Followers: Kevin Devine, Ane Brun, Merissa Nadler
Influenced By: Leonard Cohen, The Velvet Underground, Tim Buckley, Townes Van Zandt, Cowboy Junkies...