Kurt Vile is chill, so fucking chill. Words crawl out of his mouth in a slacked drawl. Notes from his guitar have so much reverb they sound as if they had wobble their way through jelly on their way from the stage to your ears. Kurt Vile is so fucking chill, he inspires conversations between strangers on the amazingness that is legal weed in Colorado. The truth is, it takes a lot of work to be that chill. Vile alternates nimble finger picking with all out assaults on his guitar.
Now, this is what I call a ripper. White Lung's "Kiss Me When I Bleed" is all punky and grungy, Five Hour Energy stacked with Five Hour Energy, shredding on top of shredding, longhairs headbanging and skinny kids, well, looking disinterested. Fuck the cool kids and turn it up.
That bit about friends from other bands in town gathering around a kitchen table to write and record music describes Lower Plenty to a tee. The ten, largely acoustic numbers collected on Life/Thrills are spontaneous and endearingly unpolished: The percussion often sounds like washboards or bottles and cans; the guitars are loosely strummed and tuned to good enough; and, the lyrics are often conversational in nature, gathered from bits overheard about town or supplied as the answer to the simple question, "What did you do today?"
Look, I'm under no impression that acoustic J. Mascis on his latest solo outing, Tied to a Star, will deliver the same type of thrills as plugged in J. Mascis posing in front of a six-stack of Marshall amps, leveling a room with feedback and fury. I have much more realistic expectations. All I want is a moment or two of fine finger-picking and a couple tracks to reassure myself I indeed need J. Mascis unplugged in my life.
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