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Smoke Ring For My Halo [VINYL]

Kurt Vile Vinyl
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 19.14 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Kurt Vile possesses the unique ability to tie time in knots. You can hear it on his new album Smoke Ring For My Halo from the off – the pinwheeling guitars and reaching atmospheres of ‘Baby’s Arms’ are as strange as they are familiar: a demonstration of how Kurt can put worn methods and sounds through himself and end up with something that isn’t emotionally or ... Read more in Amazon's Kurt Vile Store

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Product Features

  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

Product details

  • Vinyl (7 Mar 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador
  • ASIN: B004I3U80C
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,391 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Runner Ups
2. In My Time
3. On Tour
4. Smoke Ring for My Halo
5. Ghost Town
6. Side B

Product Description

BBC Review

The last few years have seen a certain upheaval in underground rock music, where artists releasing highly limited runs of what would appear to be obscure and obstinate records are not entirely cut off from the overground. It’s a phenomenon typified by acts as varied as Animal Collective, F***ed Up and Best Coast, and has been helped along by entities such as the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and the Matador label. It is they who release this, the fourth album – or first studio album, in the literal sense of being recorded in actual studios – by Kurt Vile, who appears a decent bet to go from CD-Rs to CEOs in the near future.

A native of Philadelphia, Kurt Vile calls upon various pals from the locale across Smoke Ring for My Halo’s 46-minute duration – Meg Baird of acclaimed acid-folk ensemble Espers sings backup on opening track Baby’s Arms (an appropriately woozy folk excursion itself), while harpist and sometime Thurston Moore collaborator Mary Lattimore plucks with gusto later on. Add his three-strong band, The Violators, into the equation and it becomes apparent that for all his home-recording loner-indie credentials, Kurt’s cohorts are essential to this album’s sound. A clear development from 2009’s Childish Prodigy, his Matador debut, the prevalence of barroom piano and Kurt’s own tarnished vocal bear comparison to the great and the good of ‘heartland rock’: Springsteen, Tom Petty or Bob Seger, say.

Yet on ostensibly tuneful and stirring songs like Society Is My Friend, there’s a certain off-centre oddness that makes it clear Kurt Vile isn’t built for arenas. While bands are attaining genuine stardom while touting ‘rootsiness’ – Arcade Fire on his side of the Atlantic, Mumford & Sons on this one – Smoke Ring for My Halo is about the personal and private, not the big picture painted by those bands. Peeping Tomboy, another tricksy finger-picked folk number, trades in both romance and cynicism, and a punning title you could imagine The Hold Steady using. As it goes, their comfortable cult following might be a good indicator of what awaits Kurt Vile, if this album gets the attention and sales it deserves.

--Noel Gardner

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Angel 10 Mar 2011
By Gannon TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
With Conor Oberst perhaps on the wane, or, at least hanging up his Bright Eyes, the cognoscenti have jumped ship - their chosen vessel: that of "in" troubadour Kurt Vile. Earning his spurs in all the right places (at the incandescent Woodsist and Mexican Summer labels amongst others), and touring alongside all the right people (with Ariel Pink, Sonic Youth, Big Star, The National and Dinosaur Jr amongst others), this young Philadephian - remarkably the youngest of ten siblings - now presents his second blue-collar album on Matador and his fourth overall. And, by the sound of it, Smoke Ring For My Halo looks like going stratospheric.

Formerly guitarist in the all-American, "heartland" rock outfit The War On Drugs, this ex-forklift driver's last LP, Childish Prodigy, seems in retrospect a bridge, rather than evolutionary step between Vile's stoned, snotty lo-fi beginnings and today's pedal-free, honest-rock incarnate. "I don't wanna change, but I don't wanna stay the same" he protests on the homely recording "Peeping Tomboy". Yet, Vile has done both. Despite losing 2009's mid-fi echo and feedback - and thus arguably some of that period's appeal - this is an album nevertheless conceived in a grubby bedroom, but one with its eyes on the horizon, one destined for grander things. Successfully finding an alternative middle ground, Smoke Ring For My Halo scrubs up well, but it isn't clean - it's not just cigarette smoke crowding to make that halo you know.

Resolutely bred on a diet of Tom Petty and Bob Seger, Vile sets himself apart from other contemporary FM rockers - think the swollen sonics of the current Band Of Horses set-up - with the help of a cast of many.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST LPs OF THE YEAR 28 Jun 2011
Format:Audio CD
This is simply great. It's the possible next step for anyone who got into John Grant's album of last year. Different dude, different voice, different topics (generally) but his songs take you to secret places in the same way Grant did.

I note that another reviewer here said there was nothing "groundbreaking" here. That's true, in the sense that you could draw a line of influence from Vile to many other singer songwriters of, say, the early 1970s. I'd name Michael Chapman, Bill Fay, a bit of Terry Reid and a dash of Nick Drake... others will hear their own reference points.

Having said that, I have no idea whether Vile has heard any of those artists. The bottom line is this..

He sounds like himself, and there's been nothing much like 'Smoke Ring For My Halo' for many years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He deserves a halo after this 4 Sep 2011
Format:Audio CD
I've really fallen in love with this incredible album. Vile's offhand and potent lyrics are all the more powerful for sounding so completely closed off from the world.

The first few opening seconds of 'Runner-Ups' is so beautiful that I can usually feel my tear ducts expanding as soon as the guitar rhythm kicks in.

Elsewhere I'm similarly overwhelmed by 'Baby's Arms', when Vile sings '...'cause I will never, ever be alone', and yet the way he intones his voice suggests optimism but also an ambiguity that is heartbreaking.

This is a down-and-out kind of album that is utterly consumed by its own feelings of insignificance, emerging cocoon-like from headphones or hi-fi's with so much empathy and disaffection that I can't quite stomach up the adequate hyperbole to vent how wonderful I think this music is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice find. 1 Aug 2011
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
I downloaded this from Amazon having never heard of him before while trawling for something new to listen to. After reading through the reviews I thought I'd go for it! I'm not dissapointed, very good album. Couple of stand outs so far, On Tour & Society is my Friend. Worth a investigating if you like Phosphorescent, Mosters of Folk...that sort of thing. I will be getting his other releases in time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album 1 Oct 2012
By Zaggog
Format:MP3 Download
Knockout stuff from Kurt Vile. This album is a real grower, I love it - atmospheric driving music. Whats not to love!
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