Philadelphia native Kurt Vile is a tough act to pin down, despite the fact that so many seem to think they have him figured out. To be fair to those quick-to-judge folks: Yes, a lot has changed for Vile in recent years. The artist, who started his mystical odyssey by recording lo-fi albums to CD-R and handling everything himself, is now signed to the mighty Matador Records label.
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His second LP for the independent powerhouse, this year's Smoke Ring for My Halo, isn't the fuzzy lo-fi folk nor the 1970s radio rock that bloggers want to so hastily deem it. It's one of the year's best records so far, more of a combination of the aforementioned styles than anything else. Throw in some droning guitar and some skillful finger-picking and, over repeated listens, you'll continue to hear divergent styles come together in a well-blended fashion.
Adding to his enigmatic essence, Vile has faithfully employed religious imagery in lyrics and titles for both songs and albums throughout his career. Is he a devout follower? Is he raging against the church-going machine? Neither? Tough to say. Like I said: He's not an easy guy to figure out.
This much is sure, though: His live show leans to the louder end of his spectrum. So it makes sense, then, that for Vile's Dallas show, local stone-gaze trio True Widow is slated to open the proceedings.