Former Red House Painter Mark Kozelek has, over 20-odd years, become something of a slacker iteration of Leonard Cohen, ruminating on unrequited desire with a dolorous thrum of a voice and an increasing mastery of classical guitar. He can still drag tears from hardened hacks with his Song for Richard Collopy, a threnody for his late guitar restorer, whose devastation lies in its affectionate detail. The ridiculous life of a working musician is a recurring theme here, as Kozelek lays into the indignity of bad gigs, the unattractiveness of his fans and "fucking shuttle buses". A hoot.
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666