Kurt Vile set for 2013 UK tour
Unlikely guitar hero takes Wakin' On A Pretty Daze on tour
Unlikely guitar hero Kurt Vile’s first instrument was not actually a guitar but a banjo, given to him when he was 14 by his bluegrass-loving father. But Vile, the first-born son of ten siblings bred in the ’burbs of west Philadelphia, loved that banjo as if it were a guitar, and began home recording in his teens.
Banjo was eventually swapped for guitar, skateboarding and grunge were discovered, bands were formed, coffee shops were played and a lot of bedroom recordings were punted. Vile is now 33, married to his childhood sweetheart, with two daughters and a solo career one might call ‘burgeoning’. ‘It’s like climbing a ladder,’ he has said. ‘I like to climb it really slowly.’
But the magnificently maned slacker troubadour we know today is not so slack, having released five solo albums since 2008. He first broke through in 2011 with a little number called Smoke Ring For My Halo but his latest, Wakin' On A Pretty Daze, is a sprawling 70-minute lo-fi indie rock odyssey that Vile has compared to Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk for the hours of material he amassed.
A couple of songs brush the ten-minute mark, unspooling in his trademark laid-back, almost lethargic playing style, which has been described by Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis as ‘kinda like Dave Gilmour… if I liked Dave Gilmour’. Mascis himself could be said to be an influence on Vile’s sleepy, soothing vocals.
The unapologetic self-indulgence has paid off. Vile is back in the UK playing ever larger venues with his band The Violators, while critical approval has come from unexpected quarters, as Vile has just been named Rocker of the Year by men’s mag GQ. Perhaps they want to stroke his hair. Or is that just me?
The Arches, Glasgow, Sun 15 Dec