Artist: Kurt Vile
Album: Smoke Ring For My Halo
My favorite record of the year. Great melodies. Awesome lyrics. Bad ass vocal delivery. Dirty guitars. It’s all here. This album was such a special treat for me this year. It was unexpected to have Kurt come into his own so quickly. His earlier records hinted at something like “Smoke Ring”, but his song writing took such a giant leap forward in 2011 that it is hard not to be impressed. I do not say the following lightly, Kurt Vile has in front of him the unique opportunity to be my generations Neil Young.
I am not even going to try and articulate that statement. It is almost laughable to put those kind of expectations on an artist. But you could replace Neil Young’s name with Lou Reed or even Bob Dylan. Vile has enormous talent and is hopefully only scratching the surface. As our country continues to go down the shitter it will be interesting to view the decline through Kurt Vile’s eyes. He will have some serious shit to document over the next decade and if he is willing to take on the weight of getting political then things could get really interesting as his catalog of records grows.
A taste of Kurt’s lyrics on this album:
“My best friend is long gone, but I got..runner ups…yeah”.
“Society is my friend, he makes me lie down in cool blood bath.”
“Well I think by now you probably think I’m a puppet to the man. Well I’ll tell you right now you best believe that I am.”
To read these lyrics on paper doesn’t really do them justice. The vocal delivery makes them even more sharp. More deadly.
The drawl that Kurt tacks onto the end of his phrases is so unique. I don’t know where it comes from but I have never heard it before, so I can’t say it’s an influence. It is original. It is his calling card. He came up with it and he will probably be able to make a career out of it.
This is a straight up bad ass record and I can’t wait to see where he goes from here. For additional listening you can also pick up his recent EP “So Outta Reach”. It is a collection of outtakes from the “Smoke Ring” sessions and contains some great music as well.