Now that Jay Reatard is no longer with us, I proclaim Philadel-
phia's Kurt Vile the independent recording artist with the best
hair. Not that the two sound alike, because they don't (except,
perhaps, on "Puppet to a Man"). Throughout his fourth album,
Vile gives his folk-oriented songs a subtle psychedelic twist, re-
sulting in an LP that feels dreamy and direct at the same time.
Click here for "Jesus Fever"
At its worst, it's a little samey, but I like the indirectness of
his vocals, which has more to do with the way he records than
the way he sings, as if his mic were wrapped in layers of gauze.
Smoke Ring follows in the wake of 2009's Childish Prodigy,
and Vile plans to promote it Reatard-style: by playing Amer-
ica's finest record stores. Look for him in your town soon.
Update: Kurt Vile plays a solo acoustic set at Bal-
lard's Sonic Boom location on Sun., 4/24, at 6:30 pm.
Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death,
Some of Us Are in This Together, Don't Stop Believin'
I wish I liked this release better, because Triumph of Leth-
argy Skinned Alive to Death hail from Seattle, but Spencer
Moody's angst-ridden vocals are a significant buzz kill (the ex-
Murder City Devil seems to be going for a Steve Albini effect).
I prefer "Salt" and "Hey Asshole" on which former Pretty Girls
Make Graves front woman Andrea Zollo does her thing. Other-
wise, the quartet recalls Pelican. Similarly, they'd work better
as an instrumental outfit or with a different vocal approach.
The Laughing Hyenas set the standard for this sort of thing.
Click here for "The Dirty Street"
Andy Votel - Cock Diesel Mixtape
Vol. 1 Cassette, Finders Keepers
Here's something you don't see every day: a cassette-only collec-
tion of music from vintage biker films. Jess Rotter designed the
skullerific cover, and the stamp inside my copy reads 25/100, so
quantities are limited. I don't know if there are any left, but Other
Music carried it last year (I got mine from Rotter and Friends).
There's no track listing, but the OM review notes that most of
the cuts come from Australia's Stone (1974). Though I expected
English-language selections, compiler Andy Votel scoured the
globe for this beautifully fuzzy, buzzy, polyglottal bouillabaisse.
Still to come: Beans - End It All, Dirtbombs - Par-
ty Store, Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx - We're New
Here, and Laura Stevenson & the Cans - Sit Resist.
Endnote: Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to
Death plays the Rendezvous on 2/19. Image from
Matador Records by way of Basic Edits’ Flickr.