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CD of The Week

Week of 10/22/18

    Kurt Vile - Bottle It In (Matador)

    The cover art of Kurt Vile's latest noodle-fest "Bottle It In" evokes a well-worn vinyl record that easily could've been stuck between Neil Young and Tom Petty. It's his seventh album, or eighth if you include last year's collaboration Lotta Sea Lice with (long lost twin sister?) Courtney Barnett. Along with his many EPs and his work with The War on Drugs, the Philadelphia area native has a huge back catalog of lo-fi, psych-folk, and indie rock that culminates in this latest gem.

    Bottle It In quickly places the listener into a hazy basement where the protagonist waxes philosophically about life and melds his dreamy poetry with rambling guitar melodies. Unwilling to deal with the realities of heartbreak, or aging, this poet chooses to bottle it in and live in the beautifully nostalgic world inside his mind. On "Rolling With The Flow," a cover version of an old Charlie Rich country song, this lyric says it all: "While guys my age are raising kids / I'm raising hell just like I did / I've got a lot of crazy friends / And they forgive me of my sins."

    It's certainly not all doom and gloom either, Kurt has a lot of fun with lead track and first single "Loading Zones." In the video, he messes around with a few agents of the notorious Philadelphia Parking Authority while showing off some out of the way spots in his native city. The highlight on the album is "Bassackwards," one of three nearly 10-minute songs. This one is the most realized and perpetuates the druggy escapism feel of the entire record.

    Thankfully Kurt is able to jot it down and bottle it all in this woozy but delightful package for us to enjoy. His well-crafted guitar playing is on display and he chooses just the right amount of instrumentation to pepper in here and there; piano, xylophone, and harp. The one drawback is that over the entire 80 minutes, one feels as if they might be hearing different stanzas of the same ambling song. Not to worry, there is much to enjoy from this "dream smoothie" (from "Hysteria"), and much more to ponder. Especially with statements about life that Mr. Kurt Vile makes during "One Trick Ponies". "Loved them all through many a lifetime / Some are gone but some still strong / Some are weird as hell but we love 'em / Some are one trick ponies but we embrace 'em / 'Cause I've always had a soft spot for repetition"

    Kurt Vile plays a hometown gig at the brand new venue The Met on December 29th.
    Review by Dave Lindquist

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