Back when I lived in Pittsburgh (circa '99-ish), I tried recording a whole bunch of my songs on a 4-track TASCAM cassette model. I was on a roll. But it was really hard to translate the music I was hearing in my head onto the thing that I would hear back on a cassette or a CD. I wanted something that was a little world-weary, something low-fi, sometimes very heavy, sometimes soft. I recorded a lot of songs and some of them came out OK--about 15 songs.
Well, recently James asked me to review the new Kurt Vile album for the next issue of Inflatable Ferret which I haven't gotten around to yet (oops). Vile has long curly hair and his new album is called Smoke Ring for My Halo, almost as good a title as his last one, Childish Prodigy. Either way, been listening to Smoke Ring for My Halo a lot this past few weeks, and here in Moscow too. Russian subway trains are way too loud to listen to music so it's mostly out in the dreary streets. I keep coming back to this one song, "On Tour" which I found really reminiscent of something, but it turns out that it's actually reminiscent of nothing real. It's just reminiscent of the sound I was trying to get when I was recording songs in '99. This is the sound. The vocals are not really anything I would have done (he sounds a little like Tom Petty) but the sound, the guitars, the drums, it was in my head. So it feels really comforting to listen to it now, like an old friend or something. The song seems quite simple on first listen it has these little embellishments that slowly gather steam and stand out after repeated listening. I love the bells-chime-y electric guitars that play over the acoustic guitar background through the song. They achieve a kind of state of grace that's kinda mesmerizing.
The facts: Smoke Ring For My Halo came out last month (March 2011) and is a most delicious album. Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth likes him. He's on Matador. His recent show with his band, the Violators, at SXSW is archived here.