Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez
Travel can inspire in surprising ways: Kurt Vile discovered as much making his first record in three years, the eclectic and electrifying Bottle It In, which he recorded at various studios around the country over two very busy years, during sessions that usually punctuated the ends of long tours or family road trips. Every song, whether it’s a concise and catchy pop composition or a sprawling guitar epic, becomes a journey unto itself, taking unexpected detours, circuitous melodic avenues, or open-highway solos. If Vile has become something of a rock guitar god—a mantle he would dismiss out of humility but also out of a desire to keep getting better, to continue absorbing new music, new sounds, new ideas—it’s due to his precise, witty playing style, which turns every riff and rhythm into points on a map and takes the scenic route from one to the next. Using past albums as points of departure, Bottle It In heads off in new directions, pushing at the edges of the map into unexplored territory: Here be monster jams.
Born in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania in 1980, Vile was already recording himself at home by age 14, shortly after his bluegrass-loving father purchased him a banjo to encourage his youthful creativity. By age 17, he was self-releasing cassettes of his home recordings, which in the earliest days were strongly influenced by the raw slacker pop of the Drag City roster. He formed The War On Drugs with his close friend Adam Granduciel in 2005 but later left to work on his solo career. After several albums on various indie labels, Vile would continue to find increasing success with each new album. His 2013 album, Walkin’ on a Pretty Daze, broke through bigger than anything before it, taking Vile’s blurry-eyed musings and signature songwriting style to a worldwide audience. He would continue frequent collaborations, working with a multitude of special guests on his own records as well as co-creating albums with Steve Gunn and Courtney Barnett.
Kurt is going to be playing at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater tonight at 8PM with Jessica Pratt opening. Tickets are still available and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the ACLU so be sure to go out and experience Kurt’s eclectic new album.
Host: Laurie Gallardo
Producer: Deidre Gott
Broadcast Engineers: Cliff Hargrove, Jake Perlman