Philadelphia's Kurt Vile continues to refine his intimate psychedelic folk-rock. Info/tix
Kurt Vile's seventh solo record, this year's Bottle It In, continues to clean up the gloriously messy blueprints he laid out on earlier albums like 2008's Constant Hitmaker and 2009's Childish Prodigy. But the Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter maintains his psychedelic edge here by allowing his heady lyrics to unravel organically over droning folk-rock backdrops.
Even on more focused, single-friendly folk-rock cuts like "Loading Zones" and "One Trick Ponies," Vile's understated, atmospheric, and Tom Petty-channeling pop feel is countered with his specific brand of contemplative isolation. When Vile croons, "Looked down into a deep, dark well / Called all your names / They echoed down for miles and miles / And all that other mystical, well, never-you-mind" on "One Trick Ponies," it's as though he's giving the listener a seat inside his brain. While Vile's warm, distinguished guitar tone and comforting croons help him standout amongst thousands of would-be troubadours, his real strength is in taking the sound of a lonely hitchhiker singing to himself as he walks down an empty highway and making it palatable.
Los Angeles-based folkie Jessica Pratt opens with her stripped-down blend of breezy vocals and jazzy chord progressions. Pratt is currently touring ahead of her forthcoming album Quiet Signs, a collection of stoney morning folk tunes. —Joel Shanahan