Watch Kurt Vile cover John Prine for Beyond Words

Kurt Vile | still from video

In the grand scheme of American music, of influential musicians and genre-leaders, John Prine is undeniably one of the greats. The living legend recently published an autobiography titled Beyond Words: John Prine’s American Songbook on his Oh Boy Records label that is filled with memorabilia and stories from his childhood to the beginnings of his prolific career as a singer-songwriter, as well as original handwritten lyrics of some of his most famous songs.

The magnitude of the Americana-folk-country singer’s influence is clear, as next-gen (or much-later-gen) musicians come forward to celebrate John Prine. At this year’s Eaux-Claires Festival, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) put together a big-name collaborative set titled “Bon Iver presents John Prine and the American Songbook,” featuring Vernon, Jenny Lewis, Spank Rock, Jeff Tweedy, and Prine himself among others.

Musicians are also celebrating the release of Beyond Words. Watch below as Kurt Vile sings a snippet of the Prine 1978 classic “That’s the Way the World Goes Round,” although his young daughter is much more impressed with the magic of her slinky toy. Continue reading →


Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile made a record together, are touring together, playing the Tower Theater in November

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile | photo by Danny Cohen | courtesy of the artist

This is just too much good news in one shot, so we’ll do our best to keep our excitement in check.

Remember that story this spring about Philly’s Kurt Vile being spotted in Melbourne’s Newmarket Studio with Courtney Barnett? Yeah, well they weren’t just tracking a one-off single or doing some for-funsies collab…it was part of a full record they recorded together.

Better still: they’re taking the album on tour together across north America this fall.

And they’ve an all-star group of players, or what Vile is terming “A cookin’ band and an intercontinental country duo for the ages-minus the country.” The band will be a revolving cast of Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag), Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), Rob Laakso (The Violators, The Swirlies, Mice Parade) and Katie Harkin (Harkin, Sky Larkin and touring member of Sleater-Kinney and Wild Beasts) They’re calling themselves The Sea Lice.

Oh, and they’re playing The Tower Theater in Upper Darby on Friday, November 3rd. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 9th, at 10 a.m. More info at the XPN Concert Calendar. (Phew.) Continue reading →


Listen to Kurt Vile cover Lou Reed on ‘The Best Show’

Kurt Vile | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN |

It’s hard to predict what will happen each week on “The Best Show.” Tom Scharpling’s internet radio show/podcast goes live every Tuesday night and travels down a path somewhere at the intersection of music and comedy, but the conversation can stray to really anything. This week, that path took us to Philly’s own Kurt Vile, a frequent “Best Show” guest, covering Lou Reed, Steve Gunn intertwining his own tunes with one of John Mayer’s and plenty of Jersey Shore chatter. Continue reading →


Watch Kurt Vile bust out a jam with Tinariwen at Union Transfer

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Last night, Tinariwen took over Union Transfer for a night of relaxed jams, and while the Tuareg artists blew away the crowd with tunes and tones from the African desert, they wanted to throw a little bit of this city in.

Out of nowhere, Philly’s own Kurt Vile came on stage (introduced with an endearing “This is our friend…. It’s okay?”), sitting in on their atmospheric song “Tiwayyen”, a tune he guested on on the band’s new record Elwan.

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Matador Records to reissue “long out of print” Kurt Vile EPs this spring

kurt vile
Kurt Vile | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN |

While we’re in the interim between b’lieve i’m goin down… and whatever he’s cooking up with Courtney Barnett, Matador is reissuing two “long out of print” Kurt Vile EPs this spring. A blue vinyl So Outta Reach (2011) and opaque colored vinyl Square Shells (2010) will be out on May 19th. The former features songs recorded during the Smoke Ring for My Halo sessions with John Agnello, while the latter is a collection of home and studio recordings. Preorder the records over at Matador and listen to a pair of tracks from the EP below.

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This Just In: A new Kurt and Courtney collab has surfaced (no, not that one but still just as cool)

It seems that the indie rock gods have smiled upon us today, as it has been confirmed that hometown hero, Kurt Vile, and Melbourne grunge star, Courtney Barnett, have been recording together on a collaboration. With a duo as iconically-named as Kurt and Courtney, it’s gotta be a sign that this upcoming release is going to be legendary.

Hints of a collab between the two have been circulating on social media for some time, but the news was officially confirmed this week by Newmarket Studios in their Instagram post you can see above. Continue reading →


New Year’s Eve is a month away. What concert are you going to?

Kurt Vile at #XPNFest | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN

We’re drawing to the close of 2016, and as always, we here at The Key recommend you give 2016 the boot with live music. Spending that special moment that brings us into our annual chance for a new start at a concert with hundreds or even thousands of people who are all on the same page as you — for those few hours, the feeling is exhilarating and even a little magical. Compare this to the cycle of looking at your phone, standing in circles trying to connect with people that you know primarily through Facebook and most times drinking way too much in your quest to achieve that perfect New Year’s Eve moment that movies like When Harry Met Sally have elevated just out of reality’s reach.

Given, I’ve been going the latter route for the majority of my adult life and some of my fondest memories are searching for lost phones or helping my friend figure out the name of the cute guy with the green hat the morning after. BUT I knew that after happening upon a house show on New Year’s Eve a few years back, no party could ever fill me with the same ecstasy as the music and all the people in that basement did in 2013. So, if you’re looking to try something new, check out your Philly-area options for musical New Year’s celebrations. Continue reading →


Check out Hope Sandoval and Kurt Vile’s dream-inducing video for “Let Me Get There”

Hope Sandoval and Kurt Vile | collage via The Deli Magazine Philadelphia

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try watching the video for Hope Sandoval and Kurt Vile‘s collaborative song “Let Me Get There.”

This is meant as the highest compliment. This otherworldly drum and bass/guitar infused lullaby will have you dreaming before you even shut your eyes. The seven-and-a-half minute track was condensed into a four-minute-long video – whether this is a good or bad edit is up to you. Continue reading →