Kurt Vile co-founded the band The War On Drugs, then launched a solo career so successful that his hometown of Philadelphia declared August 28 “Kurt Vile Day.” Grantland calls him “One of the most talented rockers of his generation.” His new album, called “b’lieve i’m goin down…” is out now. Kurt gives us a playlist to help ease you into the dinner party.
Kurt Vile: Hey, what’s up? This is Kurt Vile, and this is my dinner party soundtrack.
Lee Hazlewood – “Hey Cowboy”
The first track I would play is a Lee Hazlewood duet called, “Hey Cowboy.”
Nina Lizell sings along with him. She’s a Swede, I think, and my daughter, actually, always repeats her “Land of the midnight sun” line. And Lee Hazlewood has that pillowy texture mixed with like, country and blues.
I never consciously drew from Lee Hazlewood, but I do remember people compared me… especially my final EP, which, for instance, there’s a song on there called “Space Forklift,” and everybody said it sounded like Lee Hazlewood. And I was like, “I like Lee Hazlewood, but I never really thought it sounded like that.” I thought it more so sounded like, you know, being in outer space on a forklift.
But, you know, to each their own. They’ve got to compare it with something. But I’m pretty sure Lee Hazlewood never drove a forklift.
Miles Davis – “Here Come de Honey Man”
The next track, “Here Come de Honey Man,” is an instrumental track by Miles Davis.
This song, in particular, is a Gil Evans-conducted piece. Miles is the lead trumpet player, but there’s a whole orchestra.
I use this a lot in mixtapes, actually. It’s like, the perfect segue. There’s a cycling horn harmony, real soothing. This song could be sort of a gear-shift in your party where it just floats in, and you can just float along with it.
Luke Roberts – “Unspotted Clothes”
So, the next song is not very well known, but it’s an incredible sort of folk-pop track: “Unspotted Clothes” by Luke Roberts.
Luke Roberts has great pop sensibility and a simple songwriting, acoustic-country twang. I think he’s from Nashville. And I think, originally, Thurston Moore put this record out, and then Thrill Jockey reissued it, but either way, it’s a crime that so far, you know, nobody really pushed this record enough.
The lyrics can be funny, but they’re really heartfelt. He’s like, “I’m gonna see his face/I’m gonna wear a robe/I’m on a boat/And if I only float…” And he’s just singing about unspotted clothes. I guess it’s like, his dream of the way heaven is or something. Completely unspotted white sneakers and clothing. It’s strange… but beautiful, isn’t it?
Kurt Vile – “I’m An Outlaw”
I’m going to wrap things down with “I’m An Outlaw.” One of my own songs. Which I like to do every night before I go to bed, is listen to one of my songs… just kidding.
It has the drum machine, but it’s got folk instruments and stuff, you know. Because I don’t want to, like… you know, it’s getting late. Everybody’s got to go to bed, everybody’s got to come down. But I’ll be up for a while.
[Ed note: If you liked Kurt’s playlist, be sure to check out the rock-infused playlist by fellow War on Drugs band member Adam Granduciel.]