Kurt Vile’s music is a bit like comfort food. I don’t make it part of my daily routine, and when I listen to one of his albums, it’s usually because I’m yearning for a break from the norm. I began listening to him in college, his 2013 album Wakin on a Pretty Daze conjuring up images of open desert roads, wide skies full of stars, and a laid back way of life. I yearned for exactly that during busy seasons and harsh winters. I also reviewed Vile’s last album, Bottle It In, while reading All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. It felt like the perfect soundtrack to McCarthy’s tale of cowboys and loneliness. Vile’s ability to paint a soundscape has continued throughout his albums, which continues on (watch my moves).
Vile’s eighth album is overflowing with witty storytelling, twangy songwriting, and even a Bruce Springsteen cover (“Wages of Sin”). Here, Vile is in the company of artists like Chastity Belt, Cate Le Bon, and percussionists Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint, Courtney Barnett) and Sarah Jones (Hot Chip, Harry Styles). Their different musical backgrounds blend effortlessly with Vile’s unique style of rock, never really landing on one style. There’s clear influences of folk and country, with some hints of grunge, especially on the Boss cover.
On (watch my moves), there’s a tone of settling in. His two daughters are pictured on the album cover, and his affection for his family shines through on tracks like “Hey Like A Child,” when he sings, “Hey like a ray you shine into my life / Hey like a cure for all things under the sun.” It’s a beautiful moment to reflect on what he has built not only in his career but likewise in his personal life. The tracks that follow don’t feel heavy to swallow. While Vile’s music has never been difficult to process, it’s still a comforting experience. The instrumentals are breezy and free, “Like Exploding Stones” featuring a bright layer of guitars and synths, with a gentle ocean-like rhythm. While it is one of the longer tracks on the album, “Like Exploding Stones” feels easy to sink into, letting Vile lead us through his dream-like style.
Throughout all of Vile’s albums, his genuine side always shines through—it’s never felt like he’s creating his music for anyone in particular, but just those who want to come along for the KV ride. In a press release for (watch my moves), Vile explained the title: “Elvis could be like, ‘(watch my moves)‘—like, literally, ‘Check out my dance moves.’ Granted, I don’t have great dance moves, but I am sort of always hustlin’… And I’ve been doin’ my thing for a long time. So, people just better watch out in one way or another.” This mantra could be the thesis of his album: Kurt’s going to do his thing, and you can join him or leave. It’s an admirable approach and only enhances his method of storytelling.
Extremely proud of her documentation of every Wegman’s item in The Office. Once got last place in a corn shucking competition.