This is a personal artist spotlight on Kurt Vile and the Violators by DJ DiGiorno for Hopscotch.
Kurt Vile has become the unofficial king of Philadelphia. The mayor even recently declared August 28th as Kurt Vile Day in Philadelphia. His calming brand of guitar driven, lo-fi stoner rock has become a banner that they fly proudly. His soothing voice crooning over the wash of sound creates this warm, spacious atmosphere that you can reside in forever. His music is slow, but in the best possible way. It’s reminiscent of those long, uneventful summer days that we remember fondly.
Kurt Vile began writing solo songs as a teenager. In 2005, he formed The War on Drugs with Adam Granduciel. They released their debut studio album Wagonwheel Blues in 2008. After a tour with the album, Kurt Vile left the band to focus more on his solo efforts although he has been featured on some of their recent recordings. After leaving the band, Vile then released his debut solo album Constant Hitmaker in 2008 which is comprised of home recordings from 2003-2007. The record began to get some recognition as he began to start touring. In 2009, Vile released God Is Saying This To You… which again consisted of previous home recordings.
Vile was then signed to Matador Records in May 2009. By October, he had released his third album Childish Prodigy. This was the first time he had gotten a chance to sit down in a studio and write a cohesive album as opposed to compiling various old home recordings. Childish Prodigy was our first introduction to his backing band, The Violators. Vile was garnering attention increasingly as he joined artists such as Thurston Moore and Dinosaur Jr. on tour. Vile released his fourth album Smoke Ring for My Halo in 2011 to critical acclaim. The album made many end of the year lists and is considered his breakthrough album.
This past April, Kurt Vile put out his latest effort Wakin on a Pretty Daze. The album received very positive reviews including Pitchfork’s coveted “Best New Music” award. Wakin on a Pretty Daze is one of Vile’s most beautiful and spacious albums to date. With most songs surpassing the six minute mark, it is evident that this album has a complete disregard for time. The album is comprised of 11 songs and clocks in at about 70 minutes long. Vile takes you into his warm world where time is irrelevant. The subtle intricacies of his work demands your attention: the guitars fading in and out, the shifting of beats, or just the shuffling or leaving out of parts. The lyrics on this album are his most self-aware to date as he comments on his music and his life. It makes for a comedic as well as introspective listen.
Kurt Vile and The Violators always deliver an impressive live performance. Vile performs from behind his mass of hair as The Violators stay right in step and flesh out every corner of the song. The warm, timeless atmosphere of the songs are a great place to reside in on a late September night. This is an absolute must-see show for Hopscotch Music Festival.
Favorite Tracks: Never Run Away, Wakin on a Pretty Day, Shame Chamber, Baby’s Arms
RIYL: Ariel Pink, War on Drugs, Dinosaur Jr., Guitars, Chillaxing
Playing: Lincoln Theatre, Thursday September 5th 12:00 AM-1:00 AM