Kurt Vile is a 29 year-old singer-songwriter from Philadelphia.
I’m going to throw out some terms here, so prepare yourself. Independently made music without a major label or distributor, also know as “indie music,” was really thriving in the 90’s. Popular among these indie artists from the 90’s was a low fidelity recording style, also known as “lo-fi,” which implemented rudimentary recording devices and production techniques in order to immediately create music. The lo-fi movement produced intimate, inventive, and new-but-nostalgic sounds from basements and bedrooms across the US and beyond.
As Kurt and I are of similar age, I imagine he probably experienced all this great lo-fi indie music first hand in his formative high school years. I can hear influences from early Guided by Voices, Dinosaur Jr, and even Beck’s K Records folk moment One Foot In The Grave. Like the works of the aforementioned artists, Kurt Vile has a talent for wandering melodies, lots of mood, and
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a sound that is
extremely intimate. Intimate, like you’re in a reverb-y jail cell on your 20th year with your cell-mate.
You can hear all the classic rock that informed indie rock here, but Vile especially recalls the less flashy lead guitar men, like Neil Young and Tom Petty. In those mid 90’s high school years, while listening to lo-fi independent greats, I bet Kurt was (as I was),
cramming to catch up on about 30 years of classic rock. It was all happening at the same time for some of my peers. Those grungy high school daze, it’s exactly what
I’m reminded of when I hear Kurt Vile’s music. Could he be the guitar and song man of my generation?