On his first album for Verve Records, Kurt Vile pulls his talents as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer in unexpected directions and the result is (watch my moves), a vibrant yet meditative record propelled by laid-back charm and curious spirit.
Comprised of 14 brand new songs and a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Wages Of Sin,” (watch my moves) was recorded mainly at OKV Central - Vile’s newly created home studio in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. The album was self-produced along with help from longtime collaborator Rob Schnapf (Richard Thompson, Elliott Smith). In addition to Schnapf, Vile’s longtime band, the Violators and James Stewart, the album features special guests Chastity Belt, Cate Le Bon and percussionists Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint, Courtney Barnett) and Sarah Jones (Hot Chip, Harry Styles).
“When Waylon Jennings became an outlaw country artist, he liked to record at Hillbilly Central, which was Tompall Glaser’s studio,” Vile shares. “OKV Central is my version of that in Mount Airy. I’ve come into my own here, and at the same time I’m getting back to my home-recording roots.”
New song “Like Exploding Stones” leads the way, and it’s vintage Kurt Vile, a gorgeous piece of countrified reflection. Lit by sepia tones, “Like Exploding Stones” comes equipped with a video featuring Sun Ra Arkestra’s James Stewart. “It’s about songwriting. It’s about lyrics. It’s about being the master of all domains in the music,” says Vile. “I’m always thinking about catchy music, even though it’s fried, or sizzled, out. It’s my own version of a classic thing, it’s moving forward and backward at the same time.”
Vile pulls his talents in unexpected directions throughout the record. The result is a vibrant, yet meditative album propelled by his trademark laid-back charm and curious spirit. Every lyric has been chiseled down into an aphorism, every bloom of distorted guitar or murmuring synth helping create that “fried” pop.
(watch my moves) is Vile’s ninth solo full-length studio album and first since 2018’s Bottle It In, which Rolling Stone named #9 on their 50 Best Albums of 2018 list. Additionally, The New York Times calls him, “indie rock’s charming riddle,” while The Guardian says, “such an instinctive facility for melodic logic that behind the shaggy locks and purple haze, there’s a clear-headed, big-hearted songwriter at work.”
In addition to his solo work, Vile has collaborated with numerous artists including John Prine, Courtney Barnett, The War On Drugs, and the Sadies, and is featured on last year’s compilation, I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground & Nico.