Net Nuggets 17: Kurt Vile Radio Sessions

Hear ye, stoners, loners and heroes! A while back, Toilet Guppies posted a song by Kurt Vile, originally recorded for radio station WFMU last year. Now he's back, almost ready to unleash his new album upon us. Until then, enjoy some radio performances of his (below the rave).

Mr. Vile is an expert at ambivalent feelings that don't spread too far into extremes (such as love and hate), but rather vacillate seamlessly in a smaller pool of mixed, if confused, emotions, ranging from the slightly bitter and fed up to the well-meaning and -inclined… the betrayed and the forgiving… the grateful and the annoyed.

His first-person narrators, more often than not, seem to be slacker sociophobes (sometimes homeless bums?) who have certain reservations towards their friends or fellow human beings, without ever becoming too vitriolic. Because in Vile's universe, laziness will always outweigh rage. You can find a comfortable home in defeat. You just need to appreciate the little things in life—a train ride, a red apple, a beautiful girl, some classic rock in spring—and be practically free from pride. Hey—free is free…

Vile's protagonist is a man too weary for bitterness (or too smart for such uselessness), always maintaining a minimum of calm resilience at the core of his resignation. This keeps the songs a cunt hair's breadth away from being utterly depressing. There's usually a kind of light at the end of the tunnel in Vile's songs—not hope, because hope presupposes the future (and his characters might not have one). It's more about the outlook. Vile whittles anguish, loneliness and suffering down to the nameless instinct for self-preservation—the energy that comes from knowing there's nothing really to lose, and so nothing truly weighing you down.

Kurt Vile's songs are empathic invocations of motivation and inspiration rather than a series of bring-downs to wallow in. Even his wry observations—delivered in his signature deadpan sing-drawl—won't fail to make you smile, even when they're sad as fuck. Vile just turns those phrases around, adding some little consideration or other, all of them seemingly telling you, «I'd say it could be worse, but even that consideration's not worth a thought.»

Instead, just drift off to the stories between Vile's lines, like so many overheard snippets of dialogue in the street:

1. [Title unknown]
People say I should get a life
But hey, I think they're right

2. Overnite Religion
Diggin' on my sweet vision
Overnite religion!

3. Hey, Now I'm Movin'
Aw, yeah, yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

4. Classic Rock in Spring
Hey, how are ya?
Ya sure got a way of greetin' a man
Might I add the perfect suntan

5. Nicotine Blues
«Bit too late for double teaming»
She said, when all the while
I was just dreaming…

6. Runner ups
Hey, yo, man, how many times we gotta tell ya?
We don't want none, but, uh
Where you been so long?
Hey, girl, come on over
That'll be just fine…

7. He's Alright
I scrape my face on the clouds every time I get out
… but that's daytime

8. [Title unknown] (early version of Freak Train)
Hey, man, get your head out of the garbage can
You turn your brain into mush that way

9. It's Alright
It's alright to hang your coat here
It's alright to share your hopes here
It's alright to do your dope here
It's alright 'til it
Something in the atmosphere turns me on me

10. Space Forklift
When your mindspeed peels at a 103
Put yourself over your knee

11. Ghost Town
In the mornin'
I'm not done sleepin'
In the evening
I guess I'm alive
It's alright, I could still
Peel myself up sleepwalking

12. I Wanted Everything
I wanted everything
But I think that I only got
Most of it
1, 4, 8 & 11 live on WNYU.
2, 3, 6 & 7 from Sprout Session, at Dublab.
5, 9, 10 & 12 recorded for Talk's Cheap, WFMU.


  1. dont get cute has to be an early version or something of freak train, no way it is dont get cute

  2. Corrected. It's the same melody as «Freak Train», but the lyrics are different.