Mark Kozelek: Sings Christmas Carols (Caldo Verde) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Mark Kozelek

Sings Christmas Carols

Caldo Verde

Nov 17, 2014 Mark Kozelek Bookmark and Share

Leave it to Mark Kozelek to outdo Charlie Brown in sad-sappery vis-à-vis the holidays. Kozelek, notorious blockhead of 2014 indie-rock Internet trolling, himself naughty enough in his indictments of “beer-commercial guitar” to earn lumps of coal in his stocking (or a medal?), opens up this set of straightforward acoustic Christmas fare with “Christmas Time Is Here,” somehow making it even more dour than the weird bipolar slant of melancholy rife in the Peanuts holiday canon. It works. In fact, Kozelek’s gentle and wistful fingerpicking and harmonic, slightly marble-mouthed vocal approach may be a recipe for one of indie rock’s most palatable mistletoe salvos in memory (most of them don’t spend too much time in memory, do they?).

Picture, if you will, these song titles scrolling over a sappy vignette of a fully decked-out Christmas tree in an idyllic family room: “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “O Christmas Tree,” “Away in a Manger,” and more favorites for the whole clinically depressed family, assembling in some dreary town in pursuit of fleeting coziness. It comes off like Leonard Cohen if he kept his Biblical allusions strictly seasonal, and goes down as smoothly as rum-heavy eggnog. Quite captivating. Simple, and earnest, really. If this were echoing throughout a mall or department store, one might suspect sales would drop by 74 percent due to quiet reflection. They’ll stick to Celine Dion et al., one assumes. As for you, snowflake-catching indie-rock type, put on a sweater, Yule love it. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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