Living up to the album’s title, Vile has recorded songs everywhere from Brooklyn and Southern California to Georgia and, of course Philadelphia.
“I’ve developed this routine at home. I wait for the kids to go to bed, then my wife falls asleep. Then it’s dark and quiet enough for me to work on songs. I just keep going later and later, until sunrise,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me. I really wanted it to sound like it’s on my couch — not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.”
The festival takes place this July at Union Park in Chicago. Besides Vile, the roster also includes Wilco, Sleater Kinney and Chance the Rapper, all of whom are headlining a different night of the three-day event.
The festival takes place July 17-19. There are a limited number of three-day passes available for $150, and single days passes are $65. Buy them here. Full music lineup below:
Philly indie rock star Kurt Vile joined Warpaint on stage this weekend during the Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in L.A. music festival. The group brought him out to perform the dreamy “Baby from their 2010 album The Fool. Vile will perform his own show at the 30 Days in L.A. on November 21st.
Local band The War on Drugs was on last night’s episode of Conan. The indie-rock band, with members Adam Granduciel, David Hartley, Robbie Bennett and Charlie Hall, performed their song “Burning.” Co-founded by Philly’s Kurt Vile before departing for a solo career, The War on Drugs released their third studio album, Lost in the Dream, in March. Flavorwire has since called it one of the best albums of the year.
The current issue of Philly Mag is filled to the brim with conversations from 50 of the city’s most intriguing movers and shakers—from politicians to gossip mongers to celebrity chefs. It goes without saying, then, that it wouldn’t be complete without a chat with Philly’s most-buzzed about musician, Kurt Vile.
Here are some snippets of our chat, where he shares secrets about his creative process and staying true to his indie roots while “doing whatever I can … to be more of a success career-wise and financially.” You can read the rest here.
PM: When does the process for creating a new album begin?
KURT: I’m always creating — at least writing. One thing ricochets off the other. There comes a time where you’ve accumulated a bunch of songs and it’s time to make a new record. Then you go out on the road and perform it. That music takes on a life of its own, because you play it differently every night.
PM: Sounds like you find most of your inspiration on the road.
KURT: Not necessarily. The stuff I write on the road is more universal. There are other times, like when I visit my parents — they live in the suburbs, but compared to where I live in Northern Liberties, it’s like the country. There, I can tap into playing acoustic or banjo in their backyard. Then there’s when I’m in the studio, coming close to a deadline. I feel like some of my best work comes out of that, when all of a sudden you can fill in any blanks, music-wise or lyric-wise, on the fly, because you have your mojo going. Read more »
Few indie bands pull as much weight as Neutral Milk Hotel. Despite going on an indefinite hiatus in 1998, the group’s influence on countless artists to follow has made their 2013 reunion tour a can’t-miss event. The band's original lineup from their most successful album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, will all be present, making this a true reunion concert, and a big deal for indie enthusiasts. Monday, July 21st, 6 p.m., The Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue.
Even if you don't know him by name, odds are you know more than a few of James Tayor's tunes. The grammy-winning singer-songwriter's heartfelt and resonant songs have made their way into numerous movies and TV shows. An equally talented guitarist, Taylor continues to perform for audiences around the world. For an intimate look at the prestigious artist and a setlist that is sure to please, be sure to grab your tickets now. Tuesday, July 22nd, 8 p.m., Susquehanna Bank Center, The Victor Building, 1 Market Street #2B.
Roots rock by way of Connecticut, Bronze Radio Return have been busy on the festival circuit this summer. With stops at Bonnaroo and Firefly already under their belt, you can also catch these guys at Lollapalooza come August. For something a little closer to home—and a little less crowded—they will be playing a free show Wednesday at Haddon Lake Park as part of Camden's Sundown Music Series. As their popularity continues to grow, expect these guys to keep touring, but don't expect another chance to catch them for free. Wednesday, July 23rd, 7:30 p.m., Haddon Lake Park.
Thursday: Purling Hiss feat Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band (Free)
Nick Cave is an Australian icon. With an impressive backlog of music spanning four decades, Cave (along with his backing band, the Bad Seeds) maintains a big following with poignant lyrics and dipping in and out of different genres with each new album. Joining the accomplished artist will be Philly favorite Kurt Vile and the Violators. Friday, July 25th, 6 p.m., The Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue.
The second of the three-day XPoNential Music Festival features a trio of artists that, for $30, is a great deal. Solo artist and record producer Ryan Adams will close out the night after performances from folk rock group Dawes and solo artist Jenny Lewis, who has been gaining popularity for her new music video featuring a cross-dessing Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart. While tickets for the Susquehanna Bank Center show don't get you access to the other festival shows during the day, these artists are well worth the cost of admission. Saturday, July 26th, 7 p.m, Susquehanna Bank Center, The Victor Building, 1 Market Street #2B.
Forgive me for double-dipping, but when Beck comes to Philly, it's going to be the show to see that night. The XPoNential Music Festival will come to a close with the popular experimental guitarist at the Susquehanna Bank Center. Joining him at the SBC will be Lancaster-based group the Districts as well as Band of Horses. Tickets are roughly the same as the Saturday show (unless you want to get up close) and is still a better deal than festival passes, if you were just looking to catch the bigger names. Sunday, July 16th, 7 p.m., Susquehanna Bank Center, The Victor Building, 1 Market Street #2B.
Last week — to the horror of city art fans — we reported that DJ Lee Mayjahs (aka “The Buffman”) took a paint roller brush to Steve Powers‘s iconic Kurt Vile mural in Fishtown. After our reporting, Mayjahs reached out full of sympathies, and has since worked to restore the damage. According to Instagrammer @dasheikee, who posted this photo of the repaired mural, Mayjahs covered the mural with interior house paint, which “came completely off with a power wash.”
The Kurt Vile mural, as seen this morning. Photo by Adjua Fisher.
People have said the reaction is overblown, but (1) it’s good when people discuss and debate public art and (2) of course it is. Literally everything on the Internet, even the most serious issues, can get overblown — there’s no sense complaining about it. But, sure, this isn’t the nose of the Old Man in the Mountain collapsing — the defacer has already apologized and even the artist says you should calm down. ESPO, aka Steve Powers, was similarly undisturbed about psychylustro covering up. “Nobody writing [graffiti] cares and any attempt to make it appear otherwise is click bait,” he told Hidden City (the Buzzfeed of Philadelphia Buildings, I guess) in May.
That is a point to take: Graffiti by its very nature is a transient art form, and murals come and go, too. David Guinn — who has more good murals in the city than anyone — once had four seasons in South Philadelphia. Now there are only three. The enormous Frank Sinatra mural is gone. Both were covered up by new residential construction, which is a better use of space than a mural. This one just disappeared in a more fantastic fashion. (And, obviously, the uproar was so great that it will be fixed up.)
But the mural got me thinking. I have passed the Kurt Vile mural several times where someone comments about how — while it’s cool — the mural is also an ad for his latest album. That’s weird, no? Did we paint a Boyz II Men album in the mid-’90s? (Not that they needed the increased sales.) A mural that’s also an ad is not exactly the end of the world: We have a mural for Jane Seymour’s jewelry line, after all, and a Vile album ad is certainly a better choice than that. But it got me thinking about other Philadelphians who deserve a mural, perhaps ones who aren’t selling anything. Time for some jokes mixed in with real suggestions!
Now Connor Barwin has started a foundation called the Make the World Better Foundation (MTWB is an acronym for his parents’ names: Margret Thomas and William Barwin). Friday night Barwin hosted a concert at Union Transfer to raise money for Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker Streets, a park in need of renovation that Barwin would pass on his bike rides to “work” from his Rittenhouse Square residence. Plans were already underway to revitalize the park; they just needed that extra push — including money to meet the goals set out by the organizations that were in place, including Urban Roots, the ACE Mentor Program, and the Philadelphia Water Department.
The major fundraiser to get them over the hurdle was held Friday night at Union Transfer where Connor Barwin hosted a VIP cocktail party were fans could meet their favorite players. Afterward there was a concert where Kurt Vile and the Violators, The Districts and The Tontons played to a sold-out crowd. The artists donated their services to the organization as did the music hall, along with all proceeds from the bar that evening. When the total is tallied, Connor Barwin is going to match it. In no time, the Ralph Brooks Park will be a safe place for kids to play again.