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The Red House Painters were band from San Francisco. They were formed in 1989 and signed with 4AD in 1992. The relationship between band and label, however, was rather short and tumultuous. Their music is best described as thoughtful and melancholy.

Their album discography is:

Yes, they released two self-titled albums in 1993.

The split with 4AD came before Songs for a Blue Guitar was released. Ivo Watts-Russell (Mr. 4AD) thought it was too guitary and Mark Kozelek (Mr. Red House Painters) thought Ivo should go to hell. The split was very acrimonious and very public (at least if you're the kind of music weenie that reads Melody Maker and NME.)

Members of the Red House Painters included Mark Kozelek - vocals, guitar, Phil Carney - guitar, Jerry Vessel - bass, Anthony Koutsos - drums.

Red House Painters was essentially Mark Kozelek and whoever played with him. The album Songs for a Blue Guitar is my personal favorite from RHP, and one of my top 5 favorites that I own of any band or artist. If you like poetry through music, if you like passionate, peaceful demonstration, if you like the heartbreakingly lush songs of Jeff Buckley (that perfect blend of peace and tumult) or maybe older R.E.M., or Dolorean, I bet you'll really dig Red House Painters.

Mark Kozelek's sweet low rumbling voice and the soft blends and lurching leaps of his guitar make me want to wear my best old sweater and walk around in the fall sunshine and just breathe in deeply. They're the kind of band you'd buy the CD for just from reading the lyrics, because you know that words that right could have pots and pans in the background and you'd still be grateful to hear it.


I saw Mark Kozelek play in Atlanta, GA in 1998. He was obviously jet-lagged or high or something, and talked for about half the time. Then, randomly, he broke out into an eight-minute rendition of REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore," and I swear it was great - gentle, poetic, vulnerable, and I believed every note.

Red House Painters (and Mark Kozelek's newer project Sun Kil Moon) are one of the first bands I recommend to anyone I connect with, so, you there, reading me, go find them. You will be so happy you did.

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