A Wayward Word's Worth

June 28, 2011

Of smoke rings and halos

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 5:48 am

Kurt Vile learns that in song, less is more. By Kyle Mullin for Calgary’s FFWD Magazine, Thursday June 23 2011

Kurt Vile’s initial instrument wasn’t the guitar. The would-be singer-songwriter first learned his trademark subtlety — and deft finger work — not while mastering chords, but while hoisting pallets with a fork lift, which sounded a droning, rhythmic backup alarm every time he shifted into reverse. It’s no surprise that his former gig, at a Boston air freight company, helped inform the tightly woven songs that have become synonymous with his name.

“It’s a real tight squeeze, like an art. You come in with the forks and just go one inch this way…. It’s super subtle, a little turn here, another little turn with the forks to get it in… and things move really fast, you put all this freight in the smallest spot, stack it on top of something else. Sometimes I’d make a turn and not see, knock things over. It could be [crates of] beer, could be a TV.”

A similarly restrained approach underpins Vile’s latest release, Smoke Ring for My Halo, from the jangly recurring motif of “Jesus Fever,” to the windingly wispy notes that curl through the title track.





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