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February 26, 2011  | by: Kerri O'Malley

Kurt Vile

Philadelphia’s melancholy, distortion-heavy singer/songwriter Kurt Vile has released another single off of his new album, Smoke Ring for My Halo, due on March 8.  The new song, “Ghost Town,” celebrates all of Vile’s melodic apathy, creating a dreamscape of the in-between with a vibrating hum and sweet vocals about sleepwalking.

Vile doesn’t always rock soft, but a considerable portion of his music, including 2010′s God Is Saying This to You…, makes you want to lie down on the floor and melt into the boards below as you stare at the blank ceiling.  It’s numbing and arresting; it’s a gorgeous anesthetic.  Vile leaves you the room to write your own emotions and meanings into his lyrics and melodies, but his music also helps you (probably you, definitely me) to embrace the nothing.  His music isn’t sad, it isn’t happy…It just is, and somehow that’s a special experience.  To be with Kurt Vile (in a total non-hippie way, I swear) is to definitely have a moment.  To take a real break.  And how often do you really get a break?

Kurt Vile

Pitchfork’s Jayson Greene lovingly describes Vile’s music, saying that listening “feels like you’re eavesdropping: Vile delivers every line in an amiable mumble, the sort of voice you use when you’re humming something to yourself and only know every other word.”

Kurt’s casual song-writing is rife with non sequiturs and anti-climaxes, but each tune is all the more beautiful and mysterious for it.  Even the title of Vile’s new single, “Ghost Town,” reflects the muffled meaning of its vague lyrics.  But I promise you, this song is not empty.

A careful ear picks up comic lines and pretty, unexpected turns of phrase.  Beyond the lyrics, the sound of the song is phenomenal.  Kurt may sound like he’s caught in a stalemate with himself, never wanting to leave his own couch (my favorite lines: “I think I’ll never leave my couch again/Cause when I’m out I’m only in my mind/Then again I guess it ain’t always that way”), but the thump-thumping backing his airy vocals expresses a concrete, forward-moving drive that some of Vile’s chilled-out melodies lack.

This track surprisingly has an on-the-move feeling to it.  Maybe the dreamy, introspective singer, getting a small taste of fame (still not enough in my opinion) is starting to meet the rest of the world.  I doubt he’ll take it too seriously.

Kurt Vile is an artist on the rise, with a completely unpredictable range of road-busting rock and moody alone-time music.  Can’t wait for his new album!  Check out the new single below:

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