The calendar has turned from August to September, and for us Ottawa audiophiles that means we must turn away from the days of bluesfest and jazzfest, and we must turn towards the upcoming Ottawa Folk Fest, easily the least appreciated of the three major festivals in this city. The last few folk fests have been quietly putting up quality lineups while bluesfest has been getting progressively worse, and this year is no exception. The Folk Festival is also in the process of diversifying the lineup a bit, taking some important slots away from folk musicians and giving them to the likes of Lorde or Foster the People. This comes with pros and cons for everyone, but it is quite obvious that those running the Folk Festival are gunning for some of the most popular names around to try and draw more attention to the 5-day fest. As we lead up to the festival (which begins on September 10), I will be covering a few of the indie artists who will be showing that I will be personally looking forward to. If you happen to be reading this, I encourage you to take a look at the lineup and let me know if there are any names that I should not miss out on, since there are quite a number of them that remain unknown to me. To start things off, let’s talk a bit about Sun Kil Moon.
Sun Kil Moon plays a melancholy but sweet brand of indie folk. Led by Mark Kozelek, they can be immediately recognized by their sleepy, mournful melodies, delivered by Kozelek’s slurred tenor vocals. Repeating intricate guitar lines to form the backbone of their music, Sun Kil Moon almost has a calming drone quality, designed primarily to leave the listener with a sense of peace. The band sixth record, Benji, was released in February 2014. The album has a distinct reminiscent quality, often focusing on those that have passed on. Whether it be people who were close to Kozelek, tragedies in the news, or Ben Gibbard, the songs consist of various memories, now being told from Kozelek’s middle-aged perspective. While I cannot say I have spent an immense amount of time listening to Sun Kil Moon, I will be eager to see what the band can bring to the Folk Festival stage. It will be safe to expect a pensive, relaxed performance. Folk Festivals are not exactly known to be ragers, so I think Sun Kil Moon will make an excellent contribution to the lineup.
You can catch Sun Kil Moon on Saturday, September 13, at 5, or on Sunday, September 14, at 6:30. Be sure to catch one of their shows. In preparation, I recommend giving Benji a try, as well as their first record, Ghosts of the Great Highway. Also, check out the full Folk Festival lineup here.