Kurt Vile and the Violators to play at Pearl Street

By Sarah Robertson


The Philadelphia-based musician Kurt Vile will play at the Pearl Street Ballroom this Thursday night in Northampton with his band The Violators. Opening for Vile will be Greek-Australian duo Xylouris White.

Even at 36 years old, it still feels as though Vile could be found sulking over a guitar in his childhood bedroom or smoking cigarettes outside school. He’s an outsider in every sense of the word, except when it comes to music. He started playing banjo at 14 and recorded his first album with longtime collaborator Adam Granduciel when he was 17.

After spending two years in Boston, Vile moved back to Philadelphia in 2003 and started the indie rock band The War on Drugs with Granduciel. In 2008, it released “Wagonwheel Blues” before Vile began focusing on his solo career. During the same year he released his first solo album, “Constant Hitmaker,” followed by “God is Saying This to You…” the following year. Both albums were select compilations of home recordings since 2003.

In 2009, Vile signed with Matador Records and released his first studio-recorded album, “Childish Prodigy.” He would go on to release three more albums with the label, drifting through phases of psychedelic and western rock. In 2013, he released an Extended Play, “Jamaica Plain” with Sore Eros, a band Granduciel is currently working with.

Vile’s most recent album, “b’lieve i’m goin down” was officially released Sept. 25 through Matador records. Four days before its release, Vile streamed the album on four non-commercial radio stations in Seattle, Philadelphia, New York City and Minneapolis. Pitchfork rated the album an 8.4 saying, “the impeccably recorded and mixed songs shuffle bits of folk, new wave, or country in the mix but are always squarely down-the-middle rock.”

With influences like Tom Petty, Pavement and Beck, Vile’s brand of raw slacker pop is dense with nostalgic ballads and swirling guitar solos. Straying from the optimism in his 2013 album, “Wakin on a Pretty Daze,” his new album comes from somewhere deeper and more refined. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he called it, “my sequel to Donald Fagen’s ‘The Nightfly’“, saying it has a similar “night vibe” because he wrote music at night while his wife and daughter slept.

Tickets for the show are available for $20 at the door. Vile is set to perform at 8:30 p.m.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at [email protected]