The Bowery Presents
Kurt Vile and the Violators

Kurt Vile and the Violators

Widowspeak, The Young

Fri, November 11, 2011

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Webster Hall

New York, NY

$17 advance / $20 day of show

This event is 18 and over

Kurt Vile and the Violators
Kurt Vile and the Violators
Having been the subject and willing conspirator of many intentional lies planted in Sonic Youth bios over the years, I know first hand the way album lore can bend reality to its truth. After the infamous Byron Coley originated the SY “Trilogy” myth in the Murray Street bio, we had no choice but to fulfill those expectations with Sonic Nurse. “Why did you decide to make a trilogy?” was always the first question asked in interviews around that time.

But this is Kurt Vile’s bio, and I wont do that to him. Anyway, Kurt does his own myth making; a boy/man with an old soul voice in the age of digital everything becoming something else, which is why this focused, brilliantly clear and seemingly candid record is a breath of fresh air. Recorded and mixed in a number of locations, including Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, b’lieve i’m goin down… is a handshake across the country, east to west coast, thru the dustbowl history (“valley of ashes”) of woody honest strait forward talk guthrie, and a cali canyon dead still nite floating in a nearly waterless landscape. The record is all air, weightless, bodyless, but grounded in convincing authenticity, in the best version of singer songwriter upcycling. In Kurt’s words, “I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me. I really wanted it to sound like it’s on my couch — not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.”

For a record that plays like a cohesive acoustic experience, its musicality marks Kurt’s departure from an electric guitar experience to include a range of instrumentation with a large group of players. From the banjo he plays on “I’m an Outlaw” to the piano and lapsteel on “Life Like This,” and the myriad other instruments on other songs, including farfisa, resonator, arps, horns and synth, one never thinks about what exactly yr listening to as it all serves the song.

The heart of the record is “Stand Inside.” The music is quiet and the melody, like a hymn, folds in on itself, and embraces full strength in a sexy, floating forcelessness that slowly gathers into a wave that doesn’t go where you think it will or rather gives in to itself and celebrates a man willing to be defined by a woman and his love for her as witness to each other’s lives… Don’t stand by my side, stand inside gives up roleplaying for true exposure and vulnerability.

It’s a weird, accepting, mature record, acknowledging the inherent immaturity of being a person whether father, husband, partner, adult, musician, not perfect, but compelling for its understanding … that’s life though so sad to say… I love this record,

b’lieve i’m goin down.

Kim Gordon
Widowspeak has grown up in a lot of ways.The band’s third album, All Yours, is one that could only come from Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas: a honed and elegant interweaving of dream-pop and slowcore rock and roll, easygoing melodies and dusty, snaking guitars. It’s also their finest release to date: ten beautiful songs that are refreshingly straightforward yet built from the same well-chosen and deftly-used tools the band has always worked with. All Yours is ambitious without feeling labored-over, anchored in the strengths of Widowspeak’s consistent influences. There are those familiar Morricone-come-Verlaine guitar passages, moody and country-tinged instrumentation, watery tremolo, velvety stacked vocals. You can hear Molly’s affection for The Cranberries and The Sundays in the wavering melodies of “Dead Love” or “Girls”, and Rob’s adoration of George Harrison and Robbie Robertson in his brilliantly economical guitar playing. The result is an aesthetically diverse and profoundly nostalgic sound; indebted to past eras without feeling dated. Since they came on the scene five years ago, the band has seen many permanent changes: new lineups, new environments. Instead of bringing additional permanent members into the fold after the departure of its founding drummer, the band was whittled down to a duo, a lineup that has remained constant since 2012. After releasing a second LP, Almanac, and The Swamps EP (both in 2013), Molly and Rob left Brooklyn for the (quite literally) greener pastures of the Catskills/Hudson Valley region. They found a house they could play music in. They got a dog. And they took their damn time making All Yours. For one, the conceptual process of writing Almanac and The Swamps had been creatively draining. They focused on other things: Molly went back to school; Rob took a job at a Catskills hotel. They wrote leisurely, from shared voice memos and late night jams in the living room. As a result of writing down what came naturally, without any overarching vision, the lyrics on All Yours are largely unadorned, the songs connected only by the forgivingly vague theme of “moving on”. Appropriately, the band chose to work again with Jarvis Taveniere, who produced their self-titled debut in 2011. They also enlisted him and drummer Aaron Neveu (both of whom play in Woods) as the studio rhythm section. The presence of Taveniere and Neveu contributes a groove that wasn’t there previously, and there’s a few other new things: the swell of strings at critical moments, and for the first time, voices beyond Molly’s
own. We finally get to hear Rob sing in the earnestly laid-back “Borrowed World.” Members of psych outfit Quilt contribute harmonies and keys throughout the record, most notably in “My Baby’s Gonna Carry On”, and “Cosmically Aligned”. Perhaps All Yours is so refreshing because it’s a return to form. It’s a record that feels as effortlessly unplanned as their debut, that serves to capture a moment rather than create one.
The Young
The Young
When we last heard from Austin, Texas' The Young, the quartet was livin’ free and their album Dub

Egg was the sunshine-fuzz hit of the year in more enlightened households worldwide. Flash

forward two years and it seems the bill is due, in a big way as Chrome Cactus is a far darker version

of The Young. The breezy optimism of their earlier albums has been switched out for sinister,

creeping dread in both lyrics and music, and the instrumentation is far sharper as well. The rhythm

section of drummer Ryan Maloney and new bassist Lucas Wedow lay down a heavy (though nimble

where they need to be) foundation for the already formidable guitar interplay of Hans Zimmerman

and Kyle Edwards. Finding two guitarists with a penchant for such skillful, intuitive interplay is

tough enough, but Chrome Cactus is the moment where Zimmerman's vocal delivery & way around

a tune has caught up with The Young's instrumental prowess.

Expertly produced by fellow sonic assassin Tim Green (Nation of Ulysses, The Fucking Champs,

Thee Evolution Revolution etc.) at the new Louder studios located in the foothills of the Sierra

Nevada Mountains in Grass Valley CA, Chrome Cactus aurally denies the idyllic setting that it was

recorded in. From the undeniable riff of album opener “Metal Flake” to the squalls of feedback

in “Blow The Scum Away” that end the record, you’ll be hard pressed to find an album that both

reinforces and revitalizes everything that is great about American Rock Music in 2014.

Taking influence from a myriad of artists such as (early) ZZ Top, Dead Moon, Link Wray, Lungfish

and pedal-stompers worldwide, Chrome Cactus is a huge ball of power and controlled feedback

disguised as ten of the catchiest songs you’ll hear this or any other year.
Venue Information:
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY, 10003