Kurt Vile Show Preview

Author: Shaun Soman

A thick cloud of audial dust will consume Madison on Thursday, December 20th as Kurt Vile and the Violators arrive from Minneapolis during the final stretch of their North American tour in support of Bottle It In. Channeling “vintage” Western vibrations, even the cover of Vile’s latest album (released on October 12th via Matador) suggests wear and tear, an impression of a vinyl record marking the LP’s jacket. The visual cue is apropos; Vile’s hazy music seemingly arrives from another era, his meandering epics – three songs on Bottle It In hover around ten minutes in length – recalling Tom Petty’s work.

Building upon 2015’s breakout LP b’lieve i’m goin down…, which features devilish standout track “Pretty Pimpin” and the glittery, slow disco bop “Lost my Head there,” the largely hypnotic Bottle It In arguably represents Vile’s dreamiest effort. While one finds rollicking psych-rock influences throughout 2013’s Wakin On A Pretty Daze and 2011’s Smoke Ring For My Halo, these earlier releases feature a gritty undercurrent Vile has apparently shed over the past few years. While such drifting excursions might benefit from the atmosphere of a smoke-ridden bar, another relic one recalls listening to Vile, they are undoubtedly suited for soft grey skies and reflection as the winter solstice approaches.

As if having traversed space and perhaps even time itself, Jessica Pratt’s folksy psychedelia suggests a sense kinship with Vashti Bunyan, Linda Perhacs, and Sibylle Baier. Unlike her once-forgotten “acid folk” predecessors, though, Pratt’s music has not been relegated to some dusty crate. Having released her self-titled debut in 2012 and follow-up On Your Own Love Again in 2015, Pratt’s upcoming Quiet Signs (out via Mexican Summer in 2019) is her first album fully recorded in a professional studio and the first time she kept “the idea of a cohesive record in mind” during the writing process.

Ethereally wistful, Pratt’s voice entrances listeners. Given that “even the bar staff are known to go quiet” during Pratt’s more intimate sets, one wonders if somber awe will pervade the crowd gathered at the 2,500 capacity Sylvee. If so, the communal experience of a track like “Back, Baby” or “This Time Around” may leave one feeling vulnerable and effervescent before the psychic desperado himself assumes the stage.

Doors open at 6:30pm, and the show begins at 8:00pm. The show is all ages. The Sylvee is located at 25 S. Livingston Street. Kurt Vile has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 from every ticket goes to support the ACLU and their work defending and protecting our individual rights and liberties.