Wakin on a Pretty Daze (Matador)
Kurt Vile’s big year began with the unveiling of a mural in his honor at Front and Master, painted by Steve “Espo” Powers. It became the album cover for Vile’s double-LP rock album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, which was put out by the Matador label in April.
Two music videos were shot in support of the album, totaling about 500,000 combined hits on YouTube. In the one for “KV Crimes,” directed by Tom Scharpling, a parade of scenesters carries the rocker via palanquin to a royal feast of Wawa hoagies.
From early July to late December, Vile and his band of Violators toured North America and Europe with few breaks. Here in his hometown, Aug. 28 was dubbed Kurt Vile Day “by mayoral decree.” Festivities included a free concert in the City Hall Courtyard before he was presented with a Liberty Bell Award. Vile was on the cover of SPIN in June and, as you read this, is making his third appearance on the front page of City Paper.
The decision to name him the Philly Artist of the Year for the second time wasn’t easy. After all, several of Vile’s aforementioned achievements in 2013 were the work of that facetiously bombastic but nevertheless formidable Kurt Vile Promotional Juggernaut. The long-running gag, in case you missed it, is that friendly, long-haired, goofy-smiling Kurt Vile — crafter of hazy, lazy, lovely rock ’n’ roll songs that echo and mutate at a lava-lamp pace — believes himself to be a Rock God.
Or maybe the decision was a snap. Because Wakin on a Pretty Daze kicks ass. Because certain songs got seared into our brains, like the pretty hit “Never Run Away” and the moody, slo-mo booty-shaker “Goldtone.” Because Vile this year did what he’s always done, only bigger and better.
Because he’s the frontrunner in small pack of Philly rockers who’ve made a dent in the national scene without the ?uestlove seal of approval (although surely He approves). Because Kurt Vile pointed to center field and took a swing, a risky thing for a serious artist to do, and he knocked it out of the park. Because none of the other stuff — the mural, the award, none of it — would’ve mattered if Mighty K.V. had struck out.
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