Red House Painters Ocean Beach/Shock Me EP on 2LP
In 2015, each of Red House Painters' original studio albums released on 4AD will be reissued on individual vinyl after being out of print for years. Originally released between 1992 and 1995, titles include Down Colorful Hill, Red House Painters (Rollercoaster), Red House Painters (Bridge), and Ocean Beach (which has been reformatted as a double 12” LP to also include the Shock Me EP).
Singer Mark Kozelek wrote songs that defied conventional structure. His lyrics were poetic and plainspoken. He wrote about what he knew. The band played along. Drummer Anthony Koutsos ignored the standard time-keeper temptation to speed things up. He understood the value of playing against such instincts. Bassist Jerry Vessel locked into place, sustaining notes until the setting was nearly ambient. Guitarist Gorden Mack added subtle flourishes, tonal colorings that aided the songs‚ sombre hues.
Ocean Beach was originally issued in 1995 and was to be the last record Red House Painters released on 4AD. Ocean Beach found Kozelek continuing to evolve as a writer and signified a newfound confidence. For the first time, he didn't need a personal crisis to spur the creative juices and the minimal, unornamented, reflective and semi-acoustic songs helped him to achieve the more personal album he truly aimed to record. "Summer Dress" was a joyful acoustic number while "San Geronimo" matched the majesty of vinyl records with the beautiful California landscape surrounding him.
Out of print since, it’s been reformatted to become a double 12” so to also include the four-track Shock Me EP of 1994. Anchored by an unusual adaptation of the Kiss tune "Shock Me," the EP exposed Kozelek's classic seventies rock roots beyond doubt. More importantly, the Shock Me EP featured "Sundays and Holidays" and "Three-Legged Cat," quiet acoustic numbers that marked a significant shift in the band's sound. Any accusations of "indie-rock" stopped here.