With five solo albums currently under his belt, Kurt Vile has become somewhat of a lo-fi icon. His solo work has been applauded by both critics and fans alike, with each release building upon the last. His style has been described at times as lackadaisical, almost meandering. This most likely played a part in Vile being given the laid-back front man tag. But despite the stereotypes strewn upon him, his music is never really lacking in focus, and his body of work has only helped to prove this point.
Vile started making lo-fi home recordings with friend Adam Granduciel in their hometown of Philadelphia. The duo would eventually form The War on Drugs - managing to release one album with Vile as a principal member in 2008. That release - Wagonwheel Blues - would be followed by a European tour, which would then be followed by Vile exiting the band shortly afterwards. His need to branch out via a solo career fueled the decision. And, by going solo, he went from playing in a highly successful shoegaze-inspired collaboration, to finding similar success through his own more roots-driven creation.
Despite Vile’s departure from The War on Drugs, longtime collaborator Granduciel remained at his side as part of his backing band - the Violators - through the release of their fourth album - Smoke Ring for My Halo. After which, Granduciel left to focus on The War on Drugs, with Vile contributing - yet again - to that band’s second studio album - Slave Ambient. Needless to say, their career paths have been relentlessly intertwined since their initial collaboration took shape back in Philadelphia.
Kurt Vile and the Violators’ newest offering is the EP It’s a Big World Out There (And I Am Scared), which is set for release this November. It contains mostly tracks that were recorded during sessions for his last LP – Wakin on a Pretty Daze.