The first sound we hear on Kurt Vile and The Violators first new song in three years is a Daft Punk-esque Talk Box. I confess my heart skipped a beat on first listen. The same way he drifted into hazy piano rock on “Life Like This,” the standout song from b’lieve i’m goin down…, would Vile now slide into a new phase emulating the jangle disco of, say, “Shakedown Street”?
It takes only a few seconds to realize the answer is, no: “Loading Zones” is very much a classic Kurt Vile song, just with a little talk box over the extended noodling that brings up the back end of many of his songs.
Nothing wrong with that.
Vile writes loose yet sprawling rock songs with a dioramic eye for detail, both musical and lyrical. He’s not unlike Tom Petty in his ability to write about the trivialities of modern life with depth and humor of an especially wry philosopher, but, like Father John Misty, there’s an awareness of and detachment from his persona. The Vile of “Loading Zones” is similar to the guy we saw in the Tom Scharpling-directed video for “KV Crimes”: Recalcitrant hipster king.
“Back is aching but I can not sleep/ because I walk the beat/ Like I am the mayor of some godforsaken town.” That’s a classic Vile line to open a song, and like his best Homerics on mundanity, “Loading Zones” is filled with florid details in service of the premise that Kurt Vile, beloved Philadelphian rock person, lives his life one illegal parking space at a time.
The video is also literally about that and it features beloved character actor Kevin Corrigan as a consternated traffic cop. It’s amazing, obviously.
While there’s no official word yet on Vile’s next full length album, Matador Records has promised that “fans can expect a further taste of new music” when he and the Violators hit the road for their fall tour. Check out the full list of dates here.