Kurt Vile and the Violators
The Fresh & Onlys, Steve Gunn
628 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA, 94117
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Kurt Vile and the Violators
Kurt Vile has a way of tying time in knots. You can hear it on his new album Smoke Ring For My Halo from the get-go – the pinwheeling guitars and reaching atmospheres of ‘Baby’s Arms’ are as strange as they are familiar: a demonstration of how Kurt can put worn methods and sounds through himself and end up with something that isn’t emotionally or sonically obvious. Instead we’re left with a record that contains traces of the past but doesn’t waste precious time in the now being reverent.
Once compared to Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty, Psychic TV, and Animal Collective in the same review (for 2009’s Childish Prodigy), Kurt can bring to mind anything from Suicide to Leo Kottke to My Bloody Valentine, Bob Seger, Nick Drake, and Eastern ragas. Still, he pieces together these disparate elements so seamlessly and unpretentiously that such reference points are rendered pointless by the singularity of his sound. Kurt Vile might belong to a long lineage of classic American songwriters, but he’s the only one who’s alive and in his prime today.
This is the fourth time Kurt Vile has put an album’s worth of songs together and stuck a name on it, but in a sense Smoke Ring For My Halo is his first real album – every flinching guitar arpeggio and vocal wander was made to be here, made with this record in mind, to sit alongside another in situ and in sequence. It seems weird saying this given the amount of ground he’s covered already, but Smoke Ring For My Halo is the perfect way into the music Kurt Vile makes. It’s tender and evocative, elusive but companionable, tough in the gut and the arm but swollen in the chest and giddy in the head. It’s a record that is perfect for any given day during whatever season, to satisfy all moods in every possible scenario – be that first thing in the morning or last thing at night; today, tomorrow or five years from now.
In short, it’s real. Kurt Vile isn’t just the loneliest of ten siblings born to parents on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the former forklift truck driver who makes rock band guitar songs in the solitude of his bedroom. Smoke Ring For My Halo brings all of that together, marrying the introspection of the nocturnal stoner with the exploration of a troubadour frontiersman to arrive at a record you know is so much more than the sum of his and its constituent parts because often he sounds like he doesn't know how he got there himself.
The Fresh & Onlys
This has been a decisive year for San Francisco’s the Fresh & Onlys – including invitations to play All Tomorrow’s Parties and then they joined Deerhunter for a UK tour, extensive treks throughout the US, and standout performances at the Woodsist festivals in NY and Big Sur. Keeping with their notorious urgent pace the Fresh & Onlys released a handful of exclusive 7” singles, and Captured Tracks issued the lush and anthemic August In My Mind EP. Now to cap off the year, Play It Strange arrives from the infamous In The Red Records with a tour supporting Clinic across the US to follow. Play It Strange is the third full length album recorded in just over two years since the band’s inception with previous albums out on Woodsist and Castle Face. This newest album is also the first recording done outside the band’s own analog home studio. Hot on the heels of touring and arranging these new songs live, Play It Strange was furiously recorded and mixed in one week with Tim Green (Fucking Champs, Comets On Fire) at Louder Studios in order to better capture the muscularity and depth of the band’s live performances. The Fresh & Onlys newest is a shimmering pop record full of infectious melodic hooks, led by singer Tim Cohen’s hazy romanticism, and the incessantly propulsive rhythms of Shayde Sartin and Kyle Gibson. Play It Strange has an evocative moody swagger that jangles with 80’s guitar pop like the Go-Betweens, Jacobites, or early R.E.M. and a provocative rawness ala Iggy Pop or The Gun Club. The record is saturated with guitarist Wymond Miles sonic textural sprawl full of desert guitar-noir phrases that call to mind Morricone/The Bad Seeds. Play It Strange is an addictive record that will establish the Fresh & Onlys as a band that effortlessly laces together threads of great guitar bands from decades past. They may not be your favorite secret to keep much longer.
Steve Gunn is one of the most exciting american guitarists working today. his solo discography, as well as his work with GHQ, should be well known to folks who have followed three lobed recordings over the past several years. percussionist john truscinski is a stalwart of the american underground in his own right through his dedicated work in x.o.4 (with bill nace and jake meginsky), slaughterhouse percussion, as well as with GHQ (as last seen on the outfit's everywhere at once from the oscillation III series). sand city is an extremely mature and thoughtfully crafted album that conjures some of the most potent moments of both fantasias-era sandy bull and the more guitar-centric sun city girls albums while firmly charting its own raga-based territory. it is an exceptionally strong collection that should leave listeners rapt for years to come.