While often compared to artists before his time, such as Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, there aren’t many current artists like Kurt Vile. The 39-year-old singer-songwriter grew up listening to his father’s records alongside his nine other siblings in Lansdowne, Pa. He started playing a banjo his father gave him, making him more versatile when he discovered guitar.
Guest artists on his latest album “Bottle It In,” from October 2018, include Lucius and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. A year before, Vile and Courtney Barnett released “Lotta Sea Lice,” during which they cemented a close friendship and musical partnership, as Vile does with many collaborating artists.
Vile will be performing July 31 in the Town Ballroom. He recently took time to talk about his latest album and other projects.
Question: How was the process of creating your latest album “Bottle It In?”
Answer: I was making all kinds of music and then it came down to I was supposed to turn it in. I had turned in the Courtney (Barnett) record. As smooth as that was, it was in between touring and finalizing things. When music is done and you’re finalizing the record, that’s the stuff that gets exhausting, but I was exhausted in general, so I pushed it back. In the process I recorded more music that I was glad that I did.
Q: How did the song writing process go for “Bassackwards”?
A: It came together pretty quick and then the refrain, things going “bassackwards,” I had that refrain for a long time. The night before the studio I came in and kind of threw that in. Before then it was the rambling thing on the beach, which I wrote on the beach when we stayed by the bay in Ocean City. There’s a lot of hypnotic improvising in the song, but plenty of room to get lost in it.
Q: What was it like filming the “Loading Zones” music video? Also, how many parking tickets have you gotten?
A: It’s Port Richmond, Kensington and Fishtown in the video. I lived just outside Philly in my childhood. I would go down to South Street to the Record Exchange as a kid. I would say my early 20s are where I grew up in the areas I’m driving around in. As for parking tickets, it’s easy to get them. I got one yesterday. Those parking authorities are quick, but they got a good sense of humor. After that video came out they tweeted they loved it, but told me not to be surprised if they put me on the boot and tow list. That’s Philly style for you.
Q: What was it like to finally record the Rolling Stones’ cover “No Expectations”?
A: It was cool because I did a version when I was 20 when I bought my first little recording machine. When I went into the studio for Spotify I was going to do a Ramones cover. Then I was going to do another cover and while I was doing it, it didn’t sound right in the studio. They wanted a cover and I knew "No Expectations" in and out and it kind of fell together. I’m proud of that for sure.
Kurt Vile & the Violators
7 p.m. July 31 in the Town Ballroom. Tickets are $32 advance, $37 at the door. Visit townballroom.com.