Watch Kurt Vile revisit some of his classics at Pitchfork Fest

Kurt Vile at Pitchfork Fest | Photo by Scott Troyan
Kurt Vile at Pitchfork Fest | Photo by Scott Troyan |

With a new album on the way this fall, Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile is hitting a few festivals with his band this summer, including Chicago’s Pitchfork Fest last month. His set there was only three songs long, which seems crazy until you consider Vile and the Violators were the first to play after a thunderstorm caused the festival to be evacuated, so his set was shortened. Plus, two of those songs were 10-plus minute space jams from 2013′s Wakin on a Pretty Daze - “Goldtone” and the title track – and one is the equally expansive “Freak Train” from 2009′s Childish Prodigy. Continue reading →


Kurt Vile announces show at Union Transfer show in October

Kurt Vile | Photo by Henry Diltz
Kurt Vile | Photo by Henry Diltz

Kurt Vile has announced an upcoming tour with a stop with his band The Violators at Union Transfer on Friday, October 9th. Tickets to the show go on sale Friday, June 19th at Noon. Opening the show in Philly is Luke Roberts and Waxahatchee. Vile also has announced a new album on the way, b’lieve i’m goin down, the followup to 2013′s Wakin on a Pretty Daze. There’s no set release date yet, but watch the teaser video below.


Kurt Vile discusses new, darker album with Rolling Stone

Kurt Vile
Photo by Abi Reimold

Indie singer-songwriter Kurt Vile sat down in Los Angeles with Rolling Stone to discuss his upcoming new album, which is his darkest yet he said.

“It’s definitely got that night vibe,” Vile told Rolling Stone.

The prolific solo artist and founding member of The War on Drugs talked about finding new ways to write albums and getting out of the familiar routines he grew accustomed to, telling the magazine ”I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me.” Continue reading →


Ten summery songs to kick the winter blues

Cayetana | photo via Facebook

There’s nothing worse than the discerning sense that winter is a timeless black hole and that you will never feel the sun’s warmth again in your life. The best way to pretend that the winter isn’t sucking the life out of you is to channel any summer vibes that you can get your hands on. One way to do that is to listen to some songs that remind you of sunny days and overall happiness. These ten songs are here to remind you that some day (not soon enough) it will be summer again.

Continue reading →


Kurt Vile appears on stage again with Warpaint in L.A.

Photo via Warpaint Facebook (
Photo via

Back in March, Warpaint played Union Transfer and Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Kurt Vile joined the band on stage at a sold-out Union Transfer performance to perform”Baby” off of their 2010 album The Fool. It seems that this could be a forming tradition, as Vile has hit the stage with them again, though now the two have switched hometowns with LA-based Warpaint back in familiar territory. Pitchfork reports that Vile joined Emily Kokal in singing “Baby” at the Echoplex on Friday night for Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in L.A. Watch their performance below. Continue reading →


Watch The War on Drugs jam with Kurt Vile at Johnny Brenda’s

The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese
The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese

I remember a time, not too long ago, when Philly space rock luminaries The War on Drugs could comfortably fit all their gear on the stage at Johnny Brenda’s with room to spare. But as their sound and scope has expanded, so has their spatial footprint, and I found myself at the foot of the Fishtown venue on Friday night, looking at the dozens of pedals cabled together and a veritable fortresses of keyboards, of amps and microphones and Charlie Hall’s drumkit tucked way back into the corner, wondering to myself how the heck this was going to work. Thankfully, the dudes pulled it off tremendously, and had enough room for founding member Kurt Vile to join the band for guitar shreddery on “Under the Pressure,” “Arms Like Boulders” and “I Hear You Calling.” Continue reading →


Why the heck did somebody think it was okay to deface the Kurt Vile mural?

For an update on this story, see below.

An unknown man took it upon himself to roll cover-up paint overtop of Fishtown’s Kurt Vile mural this morning. Located at Front and Master streets, the mural, painted by Steve Powers, provided the iconic cover art for Vile’s 2013 tour de force LP Wakin on a Pretty Daze

In the above photo posted to Philly photographer Conrad Benner’s Instagram (known on the local internet as @streetsdept), we see that much of the lower half of the mural – graphical interpretations of many of the albums lyrics – is now covered in a dreary white-grey paint. Benner said the photo was shot by fellow local artist Najeeb Sheikh this morning.

According to @dasheikee, the man said he was not connected to the city or the building’s owner and that he was buffing the mural because it was attracting graffiti to the neighborhood.

On the one hand, muralist Powers – who is also known for Mural Arts’ Love Letter along the Market-Frankford el – does indeed have roots in the graffiti scene. But where does graffiti end and art begin? Or, more simply, is all graffiti art? It’s a philosophical debate that stretches back to the 70s and before – a debate that Benner actively engages in. But let’s assume for a moment that this person defines graffiti as any unwanted writing or illustration painted on a building. Wouldn’t a stucco wall covered in empty white paint be more likely to attract that than a wall covered in a bright, colorful and lively work of art?

It boggles the mind. Let us know your thoughts in the comments and, if you haven’t yet seen it, watch the below video of the mural’s birth.

Update (6/29/14, 3:15PM) – The person responsible for painting over portions of the Kurt Vile mural is DJ Lee Mayjahs.

At 10:14 AM this morning, someone commented as “Dumb Buffer” on a story about this on Philadelphia Magazine.

The offender posted:

Hello everyone, I am the idiot in the picture. Let me start off by saying I Love Philadelphia, I love my neighborhood and I love Art. I am completely committed to supporting legal street art, publicly funded art and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. But what I did yesterday was the most stupid and selfish thing I have ever done. I think I literally had a mental breakdown and lost my mind there.

At 1:28 PM, Leah Kauffman, a Philadelphia based journalist posted an interview on her Facebook page with the mural buffer. During Kauffman’s interview with Mayjahs he admitted he was responsible for painting over the mural and putting the comment on the Philadelphia Magazine story.

Below is a portion of Kauffman’s interview: (read the full interview here.

I just spoke with DJ/kurt vile x espo mural buffer Lee Mayjahs on the phone. Turns out that he is not well. He is offering to pay espo to come down and restore the mural. I hope he gets the help he needs. I also hope espo takes him up on his offer.

Lee Mayjahs: I got home and started doing research on my computer. I can’t believe what I had done ad I wrote a letter to Kurt Vile apologizing. And I wrote a letter to the artist Espo apologizing, telling them that I would pay Espo to come down and repaint it. I also wrote a letter to the mural arts apologizing. Apparently it wasn’t official. Even though it wasn’t official I’m sorry for everything I did. I would do whatever I could do to make it right. I really am sorry. I don’t know what I was doing. I literally lost my mind and took it out which was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

Leah Kauffman: Was it premeditated? Did you just have white paint laying around? It’s 9 am on a Saturday. What was going through your head?

LM: I live in that neighborhood. I’ve lived there for 15 years. I’m always cleaning up the streets and alleyways. I don’t know…for some reason I feel like ever since that piece has been there it’s attracted more and more graffiti to that neighborhood. Every time I paint over illegal graffiti I was blaming it on it (the mural) and I didn’t realize the people in the neighborhood love it, I’ve never really sat and looked at it. I never did any research on it and then I just snapped.


Raising money for an important cause: Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better benefit with Kurt Vile, The Districts and The Tontons at Union Transfer

Connor Barwin | Photo by Rachel Barrish | Kurt Vile & The Violators | Photo by Rachel Barrish | The Districts | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Connor Barwin | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Last night Union Transfer was a filled with good vibes, good friends, and great music, all for an excellent cause. It was a benefit for Philadelphia Eagles player Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation. One day while riding his park through South Philly, Barwin came across a park at 28th and Tasker Streets that looked like it needed a big make-over and he decided to start this worthy foundation to raise money for it.

The evening started off with one of Connor’s favorite bands from Texas, The Tontons. Front the rock band is afro pop vocalist Asli Omar with rich and enticing vocals. They played their song “Lush” from a session they did with Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through. The Tontons were followed by the ever-so-always-all-the time-awesome The Districts who came home to Philly for a show after their tour across the country with Dr. Dog. The fiery foursome opened with “Lyla” and were constantly moving around the stage exuding tons of energy. Last but not least, a slight change from the prior crazy constant motions of The Districts, Kurt Vile & The Violators delivered a set of their psychedelic sounds. The crowd rejoiced when Connor Barwin returned to the stage to announce that over $120,000 was raised and would be donated to Ralph Brooks park.


Governor’s Ball Day One: Kurt Vile, Jenny Lewis, TV On the Radio, OutKast and more


The 4th annual Governors Ball is taking place on Randall’s Island in NYC and we are there to capture all three days of live music.

‘ Kurt Vile & the Violators | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Hometown boys, Kurt Vile & The Violators hung out on the Big Apple stage during the first day of Gov Ball

Janelle Monae | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Janelle Monae | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

The fabulous and frantic Janelle Monae came on the stage in a straight jacket (similar to her performance at the Roots Picnic two weeks ago) and broke free giving the audience a superb afternoon.

Washed Out | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Washed Out | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Indie rock group Washed Out performed an excellent set in the Gotham Tent during day one of Gov Ball

Concert goer and Drexel student | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Concert goer and Drexel student | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Getting stoked for XPoNential Fest? Same here. Jenny Lewis put on a kick-butt performance playing tunes from her new album and some Rilo Kiley numbers. Can’t wait to see her again next month. Continue reading →