Personnel: Mark Kozelek (vocals).
Audio Mixers: Nathan Winter; Will Chason.
Photographer: Mark Kozelek.
Following a series of increasingly autobiographical (not to mention self-referential) Sun Kil Moon albums, as well as spoken word collection Dreams of Childhood, Mark Kozelek went back to basics with the aptly titled Sings Favorites. Covers have always been an integral part of Kozelek's career, ranging from the deconstructed classic rock songs that dotted Red House Painters albums during the '90s to his full-length tributes to AC/DC and Modest Mouse to his long-promised album of Christmas carols, which finally arrived in 2014. Sings Favorites mostly consists of familiar oldies sung plainly and accompanied by piano, as well as occasional backing vocals from Will Oldham, Low's Mimi Parker, Slowdive's Rachel Goswell, and a few other guests. As stripped down as this album seems, some of the recordings are actually somewhat of an upgrade from the a cappella renditions he had been performing in concert prior to the album's release, when he'd set down his guitar, stand up and pace around the stage, and sing eerie, unaccompanied takes on "Send in the Clowns" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Aside from these standards, there are also versions of songs by David Bowie (Young Americans cut "Win," which features backup vocals by an unrecognizably normal-sounding Mike Patton), Waylon Jennings ("Amanda"), and Bob Seger ("Mainstreet"). Minnie Driver plays Nancy to Kozelek's Frank Sinatra on their version of the always delightful "Something Stupid." "O Holy Night" was absent from Sings Christmas Carols, so it appears here; similarly, "Float On" missed the cut for Sun Kil Moon's Modest Mouse songbook Tiny Cities, and it closes out this album. Somehow it ends up sounding closest to the types of covers he recorded during the RHP days, thanks to the additional reverb as well as the way he turns a perky song into a lament. As with anything Kozelek does, the album is highly personal, even if he's simply interpreting music that means a lot to him rather than recounting his own experiences. ~ Paul Simpson