Write about music long enough and you'll start to notice that certain bands that used to be part of your consciousness just drift away into the muck, only to reappear without warning. I haven't thought about Red House Painters in a while. I was utterly charmed by their 1995 album Ocean Beach, but later label woes forced their swan song, Old Ramon, to be delayed for years. Finally, in 2001 it came out. Mark Kozelek couldn't have known it would be the group's final effort, but the album sure sounds that way: resigned, accepting, rather lovely. "River" is Old Ramon's longest track, and it starts off slowly and gracefully before segueing into an intricate layering of electric guitars. I find the song's aching need almost unfathomable -- even more so because I think it's about a cat.