In support of his great new album Bottle It In, psychedelic folk-rock artist Kurt Vile is once again Manchester bound, along with his band The Violators. This time supported by the brilliant Mary Lattimore, Vile’s show at The Albert Hall is definitely one for your November diary.
Drawing on the likes of Neil Young, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile writes introspective songs in which melancholia loses to boss-level nonchalance. Once a guitarist in Adam Granduciel’s The War On Drugs, Vile has spent years plugging away at his craft, finally finding global success in 2013 with his solo album Wakin On A Pretty Daze. This was the soundtrack to many a bleary-eyed morning that summer. It was followed up by the equally great B’lieve I’m Goin Down two years later, as well as a collaboration with Aussie singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett last year.
Released just last week, Bottle It In is a classic Kurt Vile record. It comprises existential musings delivered with a dazed half-smile, and colourful guitar-led arrangements which make you feel warm inside. The record’s framed around ‘Bassackwards’, a 10-minute epic in which anxiety is just about kept at bay with Vile’s familiar happy-go-lucky shrug. ‘Urgent’ is probably the last word you’d use to describe the Pennsylvanian musician, but his guitar melodies in this tune and in others on the album possess a sparkling intensity that pierces through the smoke that surrounds them.
Mary Lattimore is sure to provide a unique supporting set for Vile. A classically trained harpist, she’s released a wealth of solo material as well as collaborated with many prominent indie musicians – Thurston Moore and Steve Gunn, for example. She in fact features on Vile’s latest album – the title track, no less. Lattimore is exciting because she does something different with the harp, breaking free of its sometimes stifling associations with devotional music and romantic occasions. She writes tracks which tell human stories and which combine the nearly 5000-year-old instrument with experimental production techniques. Check out her brilliant 2017 album Collected Pieces to hear the harp as you’ve never heard it before. Or, for a taste of what she’ll be playing at the Albert Hall, listen to her less processed, more expansive 2018 album Hundreds of Days. You’ll soon realise that there’s been a harp-shaped hole in your life for too long.
Both Vile and Lattimore, you could say, are singular voices in their own fields. It would be difficult to mistake Kurt Vile’s voice, lyrics or guitar work for that of any other musician operating today, and Mary Lattimore is doing something unique in her own way. It’s a fairly daring move to combine the two for this concert at the Albert Hall, and we think that’s it’s going to make for a pretty special gig. Tickets are still available, and remember to get down early for the support!