Kurt Vile & The Violators
Angel Olsen, Steve Gunn
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Kurt Vile & The Violators
Kurt Vile (real name) has slowly, quietly become one of the great American guitarists and songwriters of our time. Kurt was born in 1980, one of ten children, and raised in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. As a teenager, his bluegrass-loving father gifted him with a banjo, when what Kurt craved was a guitar – so he played it as if it were.
Bewitched by lo-fi figureheads like Beck, Pavement, and Smog, along with a love for classics like Petty, Creedence, and Neil Young, he recorded his first songs and self-distributed them on CD-R between 2003 and 2007. These were compiled on 2008’s Constant Hitmaker and the 2009 mini-album God Is Saying This To You… The dreamy and psychedelic tangles of damaged but still-lyrical songcraft announced a major new artist wandering in from the hinterlands.
The Violators (then featuring Adam Granduciel, with whom Vile had co-founded The War On Drugs) debuted on the 2009 EP The Hunchback, coming into their own on Childish Prodigy, Vile’s third album and his first for Matador. More violent, more vivid, more ecstatically ‘rock’ than anything in Vile’s catalogue, the album was a righteous leap forward. The album that followed, the breakthrough Smoke Ring For My Halo, was more reflective, something sun-dappled and sexy in softly strung-out strums like “Peeping Tomboy,” the kindred flipside to barnstormers like “Freak Train” off the previous record.
His fifth album, Wakin On A Pretty Daze, is a 69-minute double LP and Kurt’s defining statement to date. Where previous albums alternated between gorgeous fingerpicking and heavy guitar workouts, this album blends the two in dreamy, expansive songs that gradually unfurl like a massive flag. It is a record that would have sounded great 30 years ago, sounds great today, and will still sound great 30 years from now.
If there is one thing that great musicians have in common, it is the compelling way they combine an admirable fearlessness with something vulnerable, something relatable and truly inviting. It's a tricky cocktail to mix, but it unifies the great singers of virtually every genre, from the the most understated folk singers to the very glitziest pop stars. Angel Olsen is one such artist, and she joins the Jagjaguwar family armed with a voice that is remarkable, evocative and stark, comforting and startling.
Raised in St. Louis and now based in Chicago, Angel Olsen began singing as a young girl. She described to FADER, "when I reached a certain age, when I reached 15 or 16, I started to sound really different, and I don't know where it came from or what exactly inspired it. I felt really comfortable singing loudly and letting my voice go all over the place…experimenting with volume and different types of music. Recording a lot, like when I was a little kid I would record on tapes a lot and listen to the recordings and harmonize with those recordings and then try and experiment with sounds, and then re-record over them. I feel like that's the most natural process of teaching yourself anything. Listening and recording and listening and recording."
That process — of listening and recording and listening and recording — has imbued her music with a confidence and wisdom that extends as much to her arrangements as to the voice that defines her music. What accompanies Angel's voice might be the ambient sigh of a guitar chord, or the somber march of a snare, or a twirling melody met with an itchy little shaker. But it is purposefully subtle, leaving her voice front and center at nearly all times, freeing it to occupy the smallest nook or command a seemingly endless space. Moreso than powerful, Olsen's voice is unforgiving.
And it's little surprise, then, that her work is inspired by what she describes as "being home, feeling home within yourself. Simple things like homes and existence and death and birth." Her music is defined by many of the same signposts by which folk music first defined itself — resonant images, bold voices, deeply human tones. And so Olsen is, to turn a phrase, bringing it all back home.
Steve Gunn is a New York-based guitarist and songwriter. With a career spanning nearly fifteen years, Steve has produced volumes of critically acclaimed solo, duo, and ensemble recordings. His albums with GHQ and longtime collaborating drummer John Truscinski represent milestones of contemporary guitar-driven, forward music. A voracious schedule of international performances has cultivated a fervent fanbase for Gunn’s music throughout the world.
Mining the catalogs of Basho, Bull, Chapman, and Sharrock, among other titans of stringed-things and record-session royalty, Steve has steadily processed these inspirations into a singular, virtuosic stream. Friendships and collaborations with Jack Rose, Tom Carter, Meg Baird, and Michael Chapman colored the disciplined evolution of the discursive, deconstructed blues sound, at once transcendent and methodical, that is now Gunn’s signature. Close listening reveals the influence of Delta and Piedmont country blues, ecstatic free jazz, and psych, as well as Gnawa and Carnatic music, on the continually unfolding compositions.
Gunn’s 2009 solo masterpiece, Boerum Palace, demonstrated a fully realized power for songcraft. Steve started to sing more and developed a commanding vocal style equal to his guitar practice. His acclaimed instrumental duo recordings with Truscinski, Sand City (2010) and Ocean Parkway (2012), cemented his place among the top of his peers, both present and past. These documents display Gunn’s compositional penchant for charting musical travelogues that ramble through city and wilderness alike. Dispatches home are not merely descriptive but corporeal; the evocative, rhythmic power of his writing and phrasing carries the listener along bodily. Steve builds songs as exploratory vessels, opens them up for mechanical tinkering, and lives in them through ceaseless improvisatory permutations.
Paradise of Bachelors is thrilled to release Time Off (2013), his first album as leader of a trio including longtime friends John Truscinski on drums and Justin Tripp on bass, and a record on which Steve’s compelling singing features more prominently than ever before. The album features his oblique character sketches and story-songs about friends, acquaintances, and denizens of his Brooklyn neighborhood, using the trio band format to launch his compositions into new, luminous strata. This is Gunn at the top of his game, writing his most memorable tunes and lyrics, utterly unique but steeped in traditions both vernacular and avant-garde.
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