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Red House Painters

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San Francisco, CA, United States (1989 – 2003)

Red House Painters was an band from San Francisco, CA, United States, formed in 1989 by singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek, who is currently active in the band Sun Kil Moon, with part of the original RHP line-up.

The band is described, along with Low and American Music Club, as one of the linchpins of the movement in alternative rock. Kozelek used this group primarily as a vehicle for his very personal and emotional songs of despair, pain and suffering.

While in Atlanta, Kozelek became friends with Anthony Koutsos, a drummer. He then moved to San Francisco, adding guitarist Gorden Mack and bassist Jerry Vessel to complete the line-up for Red House Painters. After forming, the group played the San Francisco scene extensively, and recorded demos from 1989 to 1992, building up an impressive amount of material. Once they were signed to 4AD Records in 1992, they put out five-and-a-half LPs worth of material in two-and-a-half years—between September 1992 and March 1995, they released three LPs, one double LP, and one EP on 4AD.

Their first 4AD release was an album made up of select demos titled Down Colorful Hill. It was a compilation of haunting melodies complemented by Kozelek’s eerie yet rich and emotional vocals. In 1993, the group came out with two self-titled records (now commonly referred to as ”Red House Painters I” or “Rollercoaster” and ”Red House Painters II” or “Bridge” (based on their cover artwork), solidifying Kozelek’s reputation as a talented songwriter with their harrowing autobiographical tales of his troubled life and errant living with no punches being pulled.

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