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Kurt Vile covers The Rolling Stones for Spotify Singles session

Kurt Vile | photo by Samantha Bloom | courtesy of the artist

Hometown hero Kurt Vile recently stopped by Spotify HQ recently to record a pair of singles, including a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations.” The track, from the Stones’ 1968 album Beggars Banquet, is reimagined in Vile’s signature style and stripped down for the session, with drawn out vocals and harmonica. The B side is an acoustic version of “Loading Zones,” off Vile’s recent album Bottle It In. Listen to the singles below via Spotify. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile performs “Yeah Bones” on Late Night With Seth Meyers

Kurt Vile on Seth Meyers | photo by Lloyd Bishop | via Matador Records

Philly’s Kurt Vile returned to late-night television this week for a performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The band rocked a speedy and skittish version of “Yeah Bones,” a song from last year’s Bottle It In that is instrumentally complex (the closest Vile has gotten to math rock, perhaps) but is melodically incredibly poppy. Which is trademark KV: mixing the weird with the widely accessible.  Continue reading →

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The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia: “Baby’s Arms” by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile | photo courtesy of the artist

Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, The Key is recapping 14 songs that scream “love” just as strongly as they scream “Philly.” The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia continues with “Baby’s Arms” from Kurt Vile’s 2010 album Smoke Ring For My Halo.

It’s hard to imagine Kurt Vile as anything but a goof. He’s the person with a smarmy half-smirk looking at you from out of the album cover of Bottle It In. He pays compliments to the fashion choices of his own reflection in “Pretty Pimpin’.” He wrote an entire song, “Loading Zones,” about how to find free parking in Philadelphia. And the wordplay; Vile is big into wordplay, and at the opening of his 2013 album Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, he combines his prankster and poet leanings for a lyric that is possibly peak KV: “Risin’ at the crack of dawn / And I gotta think about what wisecracks I’m going to drop along the way.”

Acclaimed guitarist, spectacular vibe-caster, noted smartass — that’s our Kurt. Except for those moments when he’s being unexpectedly, unabashedly, heart-warmingly sincere. The song that opens his pop breakthrough LP, 2011’s Smoke Ring For My Halo, is one such moment. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile is characteristically laid back in his first solo Tiny Desk Concert

Kurt Vile | photo by Cameron Pollack for NPR

Kurt Vile‘s familiar chilled-out tunes sound great in any setting, but his laid back vibe makes him an outlier at NPR’s Tiny Desk, where most artists experience some degree of nervousness. Vile recently visited NPR headquarters to record his first solo Tiny Desk Concert; he previously appeared behind the desk with Courtney Barnett while promoting their 2017 Lotta Sea Lice collaboration. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile brings mesmeric oddities and memorable hits to the majestic Met Philly

Kurt Vile | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

There was something decidedly cosmic about seeing Kurt Vile headline the immense space of The Met Philly last night. Cosmic not only in the interweaving, meditative instrumental passages of his songs like “Bassackwards” from this year’s Bottle It In, but in that a set comprised largely of this far-out fare was able to mostly pack the 3500 capacity room, with only a couple sections of open seats in the upper-upper tiers.

To be fair, Kurt is more complex than just a rock and roll mumblecore meanderer; he’s a loud and proud devotee of Petty and Prine with legit pop songs, like the set-opening “Loading Zones” and the encore “Pretty Pimpin’”, hooky and fun nuggets boasting widespread appeal. When he branded himself “Philly’s constant hitmaker” a decade or so ago, the handle might have been steeped in aughties irony, but the dude has legit hits: the jaunty “Jesus Fever” and the beautiful ballad “Baby’s Arms” from 2011’s Smoke Ring for My Halo are two others that made appearances last night. Continue reading →

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Watch Kurt Vile cover Tom Petty’s “Learning To Fly” in a Sirius XMU session

Kurt Vile | photo by Jo McCaughey | courtesy of the artist

Whether you can hear it or not (and it definitely took me a minute), Kurt Vile has always been a huge Tom Petty fan, and takes any opportunity he gets to sing his praises. And sometimes, actually sing his songs. In a new acoustic session recorded for SiriusXMU, Vile puts his spacey drum machine stamp on “Learning to Fly” from Petty’s 1991 album Into the Great Wide Open. Give it a watch below, and catch Kurt Vile at The Met Philly on December 29th; tickets and more information on the show can be found here. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile gets sentimental on his new song “One Trick Ponies”

Kurt Vile | photo by Jo McCaughey | courtesy of the artist

Philly’s Kurt Vile releases his latest record, Bottle It In, next Friday via Matador, and it’s shaping up to be an expansive and eclectic set in the vein of his 2013 double LP Wakin On A Pretty Daze. While the previously released central tune “Bassackwards” wandered in weird alleyways for nine-plus minutes, his new “One Trick Ponies” is a pop gem with left-of-center quirks. Continue reading →

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Snail Mail will open for Kurt Vile at the Met; Kurt workshops Bottle It In via Pitchfork Live

Snail Mail | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail has gone from casually releasing lo fi tracks on Bandcamp to playing sold out shows, releasing her acclaimed album Lush and touring internationally. To wrap the year, Jordan will trek to Philly to open for  Kurt Vile and The Feelies on their December 29 appearance at The Met Philly. Tickets for the gig are on sale now, more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →