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Time Capsule: Kurt Vile on channeling blue-collar blues into “Space Forklift”

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

In Time Capsule, we ask artists to revisit songs they may have forgotten: pieces they wrote, released, and packed away—until now. Each month, we’ll pick one band who will pick one song and tell us the story behind where they were and what they were thinking when they wrote it.

It’s not news that Kurt Vile used to drive a forklift for a living; a lot of his work is influenced by a blue-collar attitude — from folky fingerpicking to his gravely voice and lyrics. In this city, to gain any respect, you better have worked a dead-end job shoveling shit, fixing radiators, or some day in, day out task that propels you to dream of something better — and deserve it when you get it.

Kurt spent two years handling a mini tractor, rising its giant prongs up and down, over and over, 9 to 5, between lunch and dinner. He lived in Boston at the time. Then, he quit and moved home.

Which is how “Space Forklift” came about. Continue reading →

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Watch Kurt Vile talk harmonies, kids and hit records on a CBS live performance

Kurt Vile and the Violators | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com
Kurt Vile and the Violators | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

Kurt Vile got some airtime over the weekend, appearing on CBS This Morning: Saturday. The Philly musician and his Violators band played a handful of songs off of last year’s b’lieve i’m goin’ down in the TV studio, including “Pretty Pimpin,” which hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Alternative chart in March.

Continue reading →

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Watch a G-rated Kurt Vile on Kids Interview Bands

kurt vile
Kurt Vile | Photo by Henry Diltz

Kids Interview Bands is a Youtube Channel where young, impressionable listeners talk to various musicians about their own childhoods, and they’ve spoken to everyone from Slayer‘s Tom Araya to Foals. They recently brought on Philly’s own pimpin’ Kurt Vile for a quick yet humorous discussion that he titled “KV, Rated G.” Continue reading →

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Watch Kurt Vile cover Spacemen 3 with Purling Hiss’ Mike Polizze at KFN

Purling Hiss and Kurt Vile #latergram

A photo posted by Scott Troyan (@sxt) on

You gotta hand it to Philly’s Kurt Vile: he looks out for his friends. On tour in support of his breakout album Childish Prodigy, Vile took fellow Philadelphians Birds of Maya on tour – almost seven years later, Vile is still tight with Birds’ axe-slinger Mike Polizze, and is bringing him out on the road this spring in support of b’lieve i’m goin down… with the solo incarnation of his current project Purling Hiss. Continue reading →

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Behold! It’s Kurt Vile as a squirrel, singing a song in the HBO show Animals

Kurt Vile, in squirrel form
Kurt Vile, in squirrel form | courtesy of Matador Records

You know you’ve “made it” when you’ve been turned into a squirrel and featured on an HBO television show. That just happened to Philly’s own Kurt Vile, who made an appearance on HBO’s Animals this week.

In the episode, Vile plays a stoned squirrel who shares some nuts with a group of strangers (also squirrels) who come by his house (a tree, naturally). He then proceeds to serenade them with an original song about nuts. Continue reading →

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WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival initial lineup announced

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WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival is happening July 22nd, 23rd, and 24th at the Camden Waterfront with shows at Wiggins Park and the BB&T Pavilion.

Tickets go on sale Friday at Noon, however you can reserve tickets by becoming a new or renewing WXPN member at $25 a month. You will receive a pair of 3-Day Go Everywhere Passes that includes LAWN ADMISSION to Ryan Adams/Kurt Vile on Friday, July 22, Alabama Shakes/Gary Clark Jr on Saturday, July 23, and Brandi Carlile/Old Crow Medicine Show on Sunday, July 24. Continue reading →

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Watch Kurt Vile jam with Spacin’ at their Total Freedom LP release party

This past Saturday night marked the release of a new Spacin’ LP called Total Freedom, the local psych-rock outfit’s follow-up to 2012’s Deep Thuds. The band, which sports members of Birds of Maya and Chris Foryth’s Solar Motel Band, celebrated with a packed show at Everybody Hits, complete with special guests and batting cage-appropriate food courtesy of Deep Space Jawns. As he is wont to do when his friends are playing shows around town, Kurt Vile snuck up to the makeshift stage in front of a wall of baseball cards to help out on a song. Check out a couple videos of the show below and read more about the record in our interview here.

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Kurt Vile and Steve Gunn collaborate on a new EP

Kurt Vile and Steve Gunn | Photo by Amanda Hatfield | http://www.amandamhatfield.com/ | via Brooklyn Vegan
Kurt Vile and Steve Gunn | Photo by Amanda Hatfield | http://www.amandamhatfield.com/ | via Brooklyn Vegan

Kurt Vile and former Violator Steve Gunn have collaborated together on a new EP, Parallelogram on Three Lobed Recordings, a boutique label in North Carolina that “specializes in small print-run releases that cover all flavors of psychedelia.” Recorded and mixed at Uniform Recording in Philly by Jeff Zeigler, the six song EP features contributions from drummer Mike Sneeringer and Mary Lattimore on hapr and piano. Continue reading →