Kurt Vile is an indie-folk/lo-fi indie rock singer/songwriter from Philadelphia. He used to play in the indie rock band The War On Drugs, and he’s recorded five solo records since 2008. Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze was released to critical acclaim in April of this year. It was the 2011 album Smoke Ring For My Halo that really put Vile on the map, though.
I was a little late to the game, and I didn’t get on board until after the Smoke Ring buzz had died down. After numerous suggestions from friends, I finally got the album sometime last year. If I’m honest, I didn’t really get into it very much at first.
Now that I’ve approached that album from a few different angles, I’ve finally come to like it. Although I have the new album, I haven’t even listened to it once. Yet.
I have some studying to do, though. I’m going to see Kurt Vile tomorrow night as he and his Violators are headlining a bill with Swirlies as the support act. I’m very excited about seeing Swirlies. Sure, it’s not the same lineup that put out the splendid shoegaze indie pop record Blonder Tongue Audio Baton in 1993, but it’s still going to be very good. I’ve never seen them before.
As for Kurt Vile & The Violators, I’ll be seeing them twice in a span of seven weeks. They’re also one of “big print” bands performing at Hopscotch this September. 175 bands converge on 15 venues in downtown Raleigh for the three night, two day festival. This is the fourth year of the festival and I’ll be there again for the whole festival.
By September 5, I should be familiar enough with the new Kurt Vile record, and I’ll probably see most of it tomorrow night. For now, here’s the official video for one of the best songs from the previous album.
“Baby’s Arms” by Kurt Vile
Just a day in the life of a young couple.
I love the start of the song. That gently picked guitar is amazing. It’s played a tiny bit like a banjo would be. Which is sort of backwards from how Vile learned things. When he was 14, his dad gave him a banjo. He wished it was a guitar, so he played it as if it was. Almost 20 years later, there’s this.
The whole song is delicate and nice, but I really like this bit, from the middle of the song:
I get sick of just about everyone
and I hide in my baby’s arms
Coz except for her
there just ain’t nothin’ to latch on to.
Kurt Vile & The Violators are currently on a pretty extensive tour of the US and Canada. I don’t know when this tour started, but he’ll be playing a few more east coast dates before flying out to the Pacific Northwest later this month. He’ll work his way back east, including a stop at Hopscotch, where he’ll play on the first night of the festival — Thursday September 5. He’s got the headlining slot at Lincoln Theatre that night, so he’ll take the stage around 12:30 am. You can see the block-style day-by-day Hopscotch schedule here. The US/Canada tour will go until the middle of November, and then a few December dates in the UK.
You can buy Smoke Ring For My Halo from the Matador Records web store here.