"Life Like This"
...by Kurt Vile & the Violators from their album b'lieve i'm goin' down
Yeah, that’s his real name. Kurt Samuel Vile, from Philadelphia, fronts a psych-pop band called the Violators and he plays his guitar with banjo-like sincerity. That was his first stringed instrument, the banjo, and he told a reviewer that he taught himself to write songs on it. Now, after numerous EPs and six full-length albums, the Violators are a combination plate of folkish indie-rock sounds with music that appears simple but isn’t. Lo-fi? In spirit. But the songs, modest as they may be, are vulnerable little bits and are mostly about you and me: “All I wanted was to just have fun/ and live my life like a son-of-a-gun.” Right?
This is a band that has seen a lot of turnover since forming just shy of a decade ago. In the total Violator experience, Vile stands out as its most oddball component. The backstory is that he’s got nine brothers and sisters, and that he worked manual-labor jobs to finance his music in the early days. Randy Newman was an influence, as well as the Byrds and more contemporary stuff like Pavement. Vile’s own recordings go back to the early 2000s, way before he got a little attention with another singer/songwriter named Adam Granduciel in a short-lived band they called the War on Drugs.
- Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 8 p.m.
House of Blues,
1055 Fifth Avenue,
b’lieve i’m goin’ down was released last year (Pitchfork gives it an 8.4) and includes current Violators multi-instrumentalist Jessie Trbovich, Rob Laasko on guitars and bass, and drummer Kyle Spence. The new record is curious in that it feels a bit like a head full of ideas, some new, some old, and some of which travel all the way to the beginning in Vile’s own teenage bedroom, way back when he was mapping out his future plans on four unassuming strings.
Pall Jenkins also performs.