Wednesday, October 13, 2004

invisible bird

Yea, I am a Mark Kozelek junkie. His music created with Red House Painters, solo, and now with his new incarnation Sun Kil Moon was the soundtrack of my 20s. He is one of the only artists that I have had the opportunity to talk to and been completely speechless, a slobbering buffoon. His voice and lyric are amazing. But this post is not about Mark. I got so into RHP that I had to sample everything even remotely related to their work. In the mid-90s, Kozelek and the rest of Red House Painters worked with a woman named Hannah Marcus on her early recordings. While most of the recordings weren't as heavily RHP-centric as I had hoped them to be, they were quite strong on their own merit. Today's cuts include one song where Mark K. produced, played guitar and even supplied some back-up vocal. I didn't even realise that Hannah had new material out until researching for this, so I think we should all do the favor and go check out her website and new recording "Desert Farmers" on Bar-None, which was recorded with members of the Montreal-based hipster demi-gods, Godspeed! You! Black! Emperor!

Born and bred in New York City, Hannah Marcus spent her childhood roaming the streets of Manhattan's Upper West Side, between Spanish Harlem and the Columbia University Campus. Her father was a cellist and often held chamber music rehearsals and recitals in their apartment. Her mother was a painter who would work late into the night in her studio listening to Leonard Cohen, Phil Ochs, the Supremes, Bob Dylan and Judy Collins.

Her older sister Melissa, was born with severe autism and it affected Hannah deeply. "She allowed me to empathize with states of mind and sensory perspectives that defy generalization - that challenge one's sense of who one is, of what intelligence and morality are, of what love is."

Marcus wrote her first song in a dream she had at the age of five, in which a bust of Beethoven sat up in his coffin and sang " a kiss on the lips and I die if I will." This eventually became part of the lyric to her song Vampire Snowman. In her teen years she discovered Lou Reed and her songwriting took on the fevered angst of a New York City school girl but in college she abandoned music and only exploited her songwriting skills to whip up a quick Senior Thesis.

A move to San Francisco lead her back to writing. One night she caught Mark Eitzel with American Music Club in a Soma parking lot and knew she wanted to perform her own material (Tim Mooney from AMC would go on to co-produce her album "Black Hole Heaven"). Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters was a supporter, producer, and guest musician on her early recordings.

Hannah Marcus - Vampire Snowman
Hannah Marcus - Demerol


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