I was pretty excited when I heard Kurt Vile’s first single “Loading Zones”, off his forthcoming new album titled Bottle It In(via Matador Records on October 12th.) It felt like a return to that magic that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go on albums like Smoke Ring For My Halo and Wakin On A Pretty Daze. There was just enough of that dusty swagger he laid on heavily with 2015s B’lieve I’m Goin Down, but not enough to make me feel Vile was vying for an alt-country membership card. But now with his new single, the nearly 10-minute and meditative “Bassackwards” I’m fully convinced Kurt Vile is some sort of long-haired, Philly-bred Buddha. It’s blissfully breezy and transcendant in its loping rhythm and slightly psychedelic sonics. This is the sort of song that keeps me engaged with not only Mr. Vile, but with music in general. The song sounds like one long, looping acoustic strummer with these slightly psychedelic touches strewn throughout. Backwards guitar, wavering synths, and of course Kurt Vile’s conversational delivery.
Vile has made his style this sort of stoner kid you bump into on the street with an acoustic guitar and a jean jacket. He’s strumming tunes on the corner. Not busking or looking for change, just hanging out and enjoying the pulse of the city as it beats on by. You strike up a conversation with this kid as he’s doing a hell of a job with Neil Young’s “Down By The River” as city buses and angry office workers zoom by on the street in front of you. This long-haired kid in the jean jacket with the stoner drawl and acoustic guitar blows your mind on his ruminations on life, people, love, and getting thru it all with a little music meditation. For a little bit it’s as if the hustle and bustle around you slows down to a wavering, crawl. Like tracers at night from blurry vision as foggy memories creep up like old Super 8 movies shown in the family den on an aging movie screen. Family vacations at Kings Island, a trip to Mackinaw Island and the airy stomach you had crossing the Mackinaw Bridge, a hot walk in the Badlands of South Dakota, or a dinner in the basement of a church after a funeral. Kurt Vile’s best songs are like vague memories that come creeping back to you in the quietest of moments. That’s his magic.
Listen to “Bassackwards” below, and grab Bottle It In on October 12th via Matador Records.