If you’re the type of person perfectly content to receive the same Christmas present every year, you should probably get into Kurt Vile. Few songwriters’ sonic output is so consistent while also adding depth to a narrow framework.
Vile has said of his sixth solo full-length that he “wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me.” So the vibe is a little more downtrodden, and the Philly singer/songwriter sounds a little lazier compared to past releases, most notably the banjo-laced I’m An Outlaw. Most tracks could be subbed into his other records without anyone batting an eye. Some take a little while to hit their sweet spot, like the middling That’s Life, Tho (Almost Hate To Say).
But when Vile hits those hazy, beautiful peaks, he reminds us that the untamed wilderness of modern Americana is still his backyard. And even when he’s feeling lazy, it’s still the place to be.
Top track: Pretty Pimpin
Kurt Vile and the Violators play the Phoenix on October 25. See listing.