As we reach the end of 2018, it would not be an exaggeration to say we’re in the midst of many difficult moments in human history. The icecaps are melting. America is on the brink of a constitutional crisis. You can’t walk 15 feet in any major metropolis without breaking your neck on a discarded scooter. Your personal data (including everything we collect in this campaign) is being used for nefarious means. Nearly 15% of the public believes we actually told someone to “sound more like Adele.” Nearly $40 million was spent to produce “The Hurricane Heist”
All of that said, there is still beauty, mystery, and grandeur in what’s left of the fine arts. And when you’re done with the fine arts, there’s Matador’s incredible array of 2018 titles from Belle and Sebastian, Body/Head, boygenius, Car Seat Headrest, Lucy Dacus, Iceage, Interpol, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Liz Phair, Snail Mail, Kurt Vile and Yo La Tengo. Will these records help you sort out a world gone mad? hey, they’re great, but not THAT GREAT. Almost certainly, and that’s why your friends at Matador —a label as magnanimous as it is humble — are offering an unprecedented 25% OFF when you use the code, “terribletimes” thru December 13. Orders of $40.00 and above receive a free tote bag and take it from me, a tote bag skeptic, you’re way less likely to drop shit all over the sidewalk when you have a stylish bag.
Kurt Vile’s Bottle It In is here in just two days. Until then, hear two new performances from Kurt’s recent session at SiriusXM, performing “Bassackwards” from the new album, as well as a cover of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ track, “Learning To Fly.” Listen to the full session on SiriusXM’s webplayer here at 9pm ET tonight. Kurt Vile & The Violators embark on their massive world tour beginning on release day in Germany. See their full itinerary below.
The latest single from songwriting powerhouse Kurt Vile’s album-of-the-year contender ‘Bottle It In’ is a banjo-propelled, instant classic that belies the author’s claim, “I’ve always had a soft spot for repetition.” While peers real and imagined tip-toe on the periphery of Americana, folk and classic rock, not for the first or last time, Philadelphia’s Vile renders such considerations moot — if he’s not 2018’s wittiest, most evocative storyteller, we’d like to meet whoever else holds the crown.
(Video by Marisa Gesualdi
Original Footage directed by Aurora Glassock)
Weeks of speculation come to an end today as details of the new Kurt Vile album can finally be confirmed: One of the most critically and commercially acclaimed artists of the last decade will release ‘Bottle It In’ on October 12th. Today’s announcement is accompanied by the release of a new song titled “Bassackwards”, the album’s beating heart and Vile’s most compelling evocation of how he sees the world: “I was on the ground circa Planet Earth, but out of sorts,” he sings over a gently psychedelic bed of backmasked guitars. “But I snapped back, baby, just in time to jot it down.”
Kurt Vile has also confirmed a lengthy run of worldwide tour dates for 2019 with backing band The Violators, in addition to previously announced tour dates coming up this fall. The 2019 North American shows traverse a multitude of East Coast, Midwest, Southwest, and Southern cities, with support from The Feelies. A special hometown show in Philadelphia has been added for December 29th 2018, which will take place at the newly rehabilitated historic Metropolitan Opera House (aka The Met Philadelphia) as part of their opening week celebration. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
Travel can inspire in surprising ways: Kurt Vile discovered as much making his first record in three years, the eclectic and electrifying Bottle It In, which he recorded at various studios around the country over two very busy years, during sessions that usually punctuated the ends of long tours or family road trips. Every song, whether it’s a concise and catchy pop composition or a sprawling guitar epic, becomes a journey unto itself, taking unexpected detours, circuitous melodic avenues, or open-highway solos. If Vile has become something of a rock guitar god—a mantle he would dismiss out of humility but also out of a desire to keep getting better, to continue absorbing new music, new sounds, new ideas—it’s due to his precise, witty playing style, which turns every riff and rhythm into points on a map and takes the scenic route from one to the next.
Using past albums as points of departure, Bottle It In heads off in new directions, pushing at the edges of the map into unexplored territory: Here be monster jams. These songs show an artist who is still evolving and growing: a songwriter who, like his hero John Prine, can make you laugh and break your heart, often in the same line, as well as a vocalist who essentially rewrites those songs whenever he sings them in his wise, laconic jive-talkin’ drawl. He revels in the minutiae of the music—not simply incorporating new instruments but emphasizing how they interact with his guitar and voice, how the glockenspiel evokes cirrocumulus clouds on “Hysteria,” how Kim Gordon’s “acoustic guitar distortion” (her term) engulfs everything at the end of “Mutinies,” how the banjo curls around his guitar lines and backing vocals from Lucius to lend a high-lonesome aura to “Come Again.”
These journeys took Vile more than two years to navigate, during which time he toured behind his breakout 2015 album b’lieve I’m goin’ down, recorded a duets album with Australian singer-songwriter-guitarist Courtney Barnett, opened for Neil Young in front of 90,000 people in Quebec, famously became a clue on Jeopardy, hung out with friends, took vacations with his wife and daughters.
In April 2017, he trekked out to Indio, California, to catch the Stagecoach Festival and sit in with his friends the Sadies (“my favorite modern band”). Inspired by Willie Nelson’s epic set, Vile spent a few days in Los Angeles working with producer Rob Schnapf at his Mant Sounds studio. The two had previously worked together on “Pretty Pimpin,” the leadoff track on b’lieve that became a number-one AAA radio hit. Their second collaboration was similarly inspired: Featuring backing vocals from Cass McCombs, the eleven-minute title track is full of ominous bass rumbles, hazy-steady drumbeats from Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, delicate harp stabs from Mary Lattimore, and what sounds like chewy distortion leaking out of a David Lynch flick.
Months later, when a lengthy Violators tour ended in Salt Lake City, Vile let the momentum carry him further west, where he recorded several more songs with engineer/producer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, the War on Drugs) at The Beer Hole in Los Angeles. Other songs were put to tape during sojourns to Portland, Oregon, and to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where fellow Violator Rob Laakso co-produced. The bulk of Bottle It In was bottled up at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with Peter Katis (Interpol, the National) engineering and producing. Bottle It In captures the spontaneity of these impromptu sessions, revealing Vile as a diligent and singularly determined musician.
These recordings are the destinations, but the journeys were just as important, whether they gave him time with his wife and kids or an opportunity to get some writing done. “For a while I was terrified of flying, so I would be listening to whatever country songs I was obsessed with. I’d have George Jones blasting in my ears. Or, I would be reading something about country music. Or, I would start writing songs in that flash of being afraid, being swallowed by life. I’m up there on a plane drinking wine because like everybody else I’m afraid to die. And I wrote ‘Hysteria’ up there.” That new song, with its woozy guitar fanfare, captures mid-flight queasiness well, as Vile daydreams about escaping the flight: “Stop this plane ‘cause I wanna get off,” he sings. “Pull over somewhere on the side of a cloud.”
Bottle It In is about place only insofar as it is about the people in those places: friends and family, bandmates and music heroes, colleagues and collaborators. There’s a lot of love in these big-hearted songs, a lot of warmth toward everyone in Vile’s orbit and even toward those whose paths he’s yet to cross. “Loved you all a long, long while,” he sings on “One-Trick Ponies.” “Looked down into a deep dark well, called all of your names.” The jangly country-rock tune serves as a valentine to… he won’t say, but he and Mozgawa and Farmer Dave Scher deliver a beautifully sympathetic sing-along chorus that invites every one of us one-trick ponies to join in.
As Vile prepares for another round of lengthy tours and countless shows, these songs should prove good company, reminders of the love and responsibility he has toward those he leaves at home and those he meets along the way. That makes the sentiments resonate more strongly and lends Bottle It In an emotional weight. “It’s like that moment on the airplane,” Vile says, “when you’re on your way somewhere and you have that burst of panic. When you’re terrified of dying, that’s when you want people to know you love them.” – Stephen Duesner
01 Loading Zones
03 Yeah Bones
05 One Trick Ponies
06 Rollin With The Flow
07 Check Baby
08 Bottle It In
10 Come Again
11 Cold Was The Wind
12 Skinny Mini
13 (bottle back)
This morning, we’re pleased to present the Kurt Vile video, “Loading Zones,” the first new music to surface from him since 2015. Directed by Drew Saracco, the video is a paean to Kurt’s City of Brotherly Love, and a farcical tribute to the song’s lyrics, a loose account of his peculiar parking strategy. Law enforcement is played by Kevin Corrigan and Matt Korvette.
Kurt and The Violators (Rob Laakso, Kyle Spence, and Jesse Trbovich) hit the road this fall on an extensive global tour. Tickets are on-sale now for the full world tour, which commences in Hamburg, Germany on October 12th. The North American leg, where fans can expect a further taste of new music in addition to the band’s iconic catalogue, kicks off on November 24th in Boston. The band has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 per ticket sold will go to support the ACLU’s work defending and protecting our individual rights and liberties. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
After a two year break since since the last Kurt Vile headline tour of Europe, the Prince of Philadelphia returns in the Fall with The Violators in tow.
Kurt and his band will play in eight different European territories before hitting the UK for two back-to-back shows at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in mid November, amongst some wider regional dates.
Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 27th at 10am (BST) / 11am (CEST).
(Kurt Vile at SXSW last week, photo by Rennie Jaffe)
After performing across Austin TX last week, at Willie Nelson’s ranch in Spicewood, and at a few SXSW showcases, Kurt Vile has announced his first American shows with the Violators in over a year. The full Violators line-up, which includes Vile, Rob Laakso, Kyle Spence and Jesse Trbovich, will hit the road in June and July. Tickets are on sale this Friday March 23rd at 10am ET.
In case you missed it, watch the new documentary “Friends of Wonder,” which features Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett at The Landmark Lowe’s Jersey City Theater during their Fall ’17 Lotta Sea Lice tour.
Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile & The Sea Lice make their (collaborative) national TV debut tonight at 11:35 pm (eastern) on CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”. Colbert’s other guests tonight are Whoopi Goldberg and Katheryn Hahn. I remain hopeful the former will be asked to confirm or deny plans for a sequel to this 1996 classic, but experienced talk show hosts know how to do their jobs without further interference.
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile have teamed with Spotify for an intercontinental mixtape exchange in the spirit of their new album Lotta Sea Lice. Listeners can make a new musical friend by submitting a playlist, sending it into the world as a digital postcard and immediately receiving a playlist postcard in exchange.
Just a HIGH PRESSURE reminder for you that today marks the official release date for Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s fantastic collaboration album, ‘Lotta Sea Lice’. Following Wednesday’s session for KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and an instore last night at a packed Amoeba Records in Hollywood, the duo recommence their mostly-sold-old North American tour at the Desert Days Festival in Joshua Tree, CA.
We’re a few days away from the release of Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile’s hotly anticipated collaboration album, ‘Lotta Sea Lice’ and as you’d expect, they’re an insane amount of activity surrounding this momentous event. After a Sunday afternoon set at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival the duo visit KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic for a live broadcast starting at 11:15am pacific time TODAY. Thursday, there’s a free show at Hollywood’s Amoeba Records, who’ve somehow managed to obtain copies of ‘Lotta Sea Lice’ one day early. And on Monday afternoon, there’s a Pitchfork Live webcast taking place from what’s said to be Jimmy Page’s former Malibu residence (this seems suspicious as we had it good authority he took his holidays in Cliftwood, NJ…or maybe that was Southside Johnny. Hard to remember sometimes)
We are pleased, no wait OVERJOYED to announce that Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett will be touring North America this fall with an all-star band. This announcement comes alongside the news that the two have completed a collaboration album that will be released later this year…
(photo credit: Danny Cohen)
The inter-continental duo will share the stage, performing songs off their upcoming album as well as delving into their respective back catalogues and covering a bunch of classics, all backed by their band ‘The Sea Lice,’ a revolving cast of musicians including Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag), Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), Rob Laakso (The Violators, The Swirlies, Mice Parade) and Katie Harkin (Harkin, Sky Larkin and touring member of Sleater-Kinney and Wild Beasts). “A cookin’ band and an intercontinental country duo for the ages—minus the country,” says Vile.
Courtney recalls the seeds of the collaboration:
“In 2014 I scored a support slot opening for Kurt at the Abbotsford Convent [outside Melbourne]. We met briefly after the show but I was a bit nervous and didn’t wanna bother him, just grateful for the gig. Years later we started bumping into each other on the festival circuit all around the wide world and we became friends. He hit me up when he was coming to Melbourne next and said he thought we could work together.”
As Kurt tells it:
“I just love her voice in general… great lyrics of course… I love all her music but the song that really hit me was “Depreston”—I know it’s popular but her voice is so good in that song and it’s so pretty and sincere… i’m a sucker for that kinda song: instant classic.
It started out as, maybe we’ll do a split 7″ together but then I figured let’s make it a 12″ so it doesn’t get lost in the world, shoot for 5 songs. It wasn’t until i had another KV tour booked for the following summer in Oz that we thought we should record as much as we can, just see what happens, no major goal to make it a full length, but it came together that way ‘cause the vibe was so strong with everyone.”
For Courtney, the admiration is mutual:
I’m a huge Kurt fan. Smoke Ring was one of my first purchases on vinyl. I was getting over a big break-up, unemployed and drifting and I would just lie on my bed and listen to ‘Peepin’ Tom’ on repeat. One of the most beautiful and luscious albums I ever heard. Me and Jen fell in love to that album.”
Kurt and Courtney have partnered with Plus 1 so that $1 from every ticket goes to support the ACLU and their work defending and protecting our individual rights and liberties. Support for the Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile (and The Sea Lice) tour will be Australian songwriter Jen Cloher.
The album is the result of 8 days in the studio spread over almost 15 months when Courtney and Kurt’s respective touring schedules allowed for them to be in the same place at the same time. It will be released later this year jointly by Matador Records, Marathon Artists and Milk! Records.
Tickets for the tour go on sale on Friday, but you can grab them early using the code BLUEBERRYHILL today starting at noon in your local market.
Hey, look at us, actually repressing a couple of Kurt Vile EP’s you’ve been trying to acquire for far too long. On May 19, we’re reissuing the 6-song ‘So Outta Reach’ (2011) on blue vinyl and on the same day, 2010’s ‘Square Shells’ on opaque colored vinyl. Activate your preorder skills below :
In addition, Kurt’s playing 3 Eastern datesin June including a free show at Portsmouth, NH’s Prescott Park Arts Festival and a rather intimate show in the town made famous by Howard Stern (and infamous by Homestead Records) Rockville Centre, NY.
This is a casual reminder that Kurt Vile, accompanied by The Violators will be making a quick run of shows in New York, Boston and Philly at the tail end of December. Woods and Nathan Bowles will be joining them for all three shows.
Ticket links below:
Wednesday, December 28 – Terminal 5, New York NY
Thursday, December 29 – Royale, Boston MA
Friday, December 30 – The Sinclair, Boston MA
Saturday, December 31 – The Fillmore – Philadelphia PA
Kurt has covered the Squidbillies theme song, an honor bestowed also to Father John Misty and Sharon Van Etten, among others. Listen to the theme below as well as take a look at a behind the scenes video.
Thursday, July 14 – Super Bock Super Rock, Lisbon, Portugal
Saturday, July 16 – Latitude Festival, Southwold, UK
Friday, July 22 – XPoNential Music Festival, Camden, NJ
Saturday, July 23 – Wayhome Music & Arts Festival, Toronto, ONT
Sunday, July 24 – Panorama Festival, New York NY
Monday, July 25 – The NorVA, Norfolk VA
Wednesday, July 27 – Deluxe @ Old National Theatre, Indianapolis IN
Thursday, July 28 – Lollapalooza, Chicago IL
July 29-31 – Osheaga Festival, Montreal, QC, Canda
Saturday, August 6 – Rialto Theatre, Tucson AZ
Sunday, August 7 – Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles CA
Tuesday, August 9 – House of Blues, San Diego CA
Wednesday, August 10 – Strummers, Fresno CA
Thursday, August 11 – The Catalyst, Santa Cruz CA
Friday, August 12 – Greek Theatre, Berkeley CA
Saturday, August 13 – Greek Theatre, Berkeley CA
Monday, August 15 – Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas NV
Tuesday, August 16 – Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City, UT
Wednesday, August 17 – Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison CO ^
Friday, August 19 – Breese Stevens Field, Madison WI
Saturday, August 20 – Historic Halls Island, Minneapolis, MN
Sunday, August 21 – Codfish Hollow Barn, Maquoketa IA
Tuesday, August 23 – The Pageant, St. Louis MO
Wednesday, August 24 – Manchester Music Hall, Lexington KY
Thursday, August 25 – Live On The Green Music Festival, Nashville TN
Friday, August 26 – Madison Theatre, Covington KY
Saturday, August 27 – Chameleon Club, Lancaster PA
Thursday, October 6 – Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD
Tuesday, October 11 – Shinjuku Liquid Room, Tokyo, Japan
Wednesday, October 12 – Club Quattro, Umeda, Japan
Supporting Alabama Shakes 8/12-13
You’re Jovian supporting 7/25
With Sufjan Stevens 8/7
Pal Jenkins supporting 8/9
Heron Oblivion supporting 8/11
Supporting Ryan Adams 8/17
Supporting Wilco 8/19-20
The Sadies supporting 8/23-27
2/4-8 w/ My Morning Jacket, Gary Clark Jr., The Head and the Heart, Deer Tick