The first evidence of his work came in the form of some limited-run cassettes, but he truly came into his own with 2013's full-length album Double Exposure, released on the Olde English Spelling Bee label, which received an 8.0 rating from Pitchfork. Kivel's solo work took a decidedly more subdued path than his previous affiliations, with shimmering ambient synths meeting muted acoustic songwriting and understated vocals. Second album Days of Being Wild, recorded with Palace Brothers member Paul Oldham over the course of one summer, saw release on the Woodsist label in 2014.
Third and fourth albums Janus and Fires on the Plain were released by Driftless Recordings in 2016. Janus was recorded in Glasgow, Scotland and was produced by folk musician Alasdair Roberts. Fires on the Plain was recorded in Los Angeles and features duets with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes.
In 2019, Kivel released his 5th album "last night in america" on the Cascine and Pedro Y El Lobo record labels. AllMusic gave it 4 out of 5 stars and chose it as an "Album Pick."