Kurt Vile talked ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’ 10th anniversary on Tim’s Twitter Listening Party
On Monday (3/8), Kurt Vile celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his great fourth studio album and first release after signing with Matador, Smoke Ring For My Halo. To commemorate the occasion, Kurt participated in a Tim's Twitter Listening Party for the album on Monday, where he shared behind-the-scenes stories and more.
As things began, Kurt reminisced on the opening track, "Baby's Arms," saying, "'Baby's arms' is a milestone song in my life. always thought it shoulda been a hit (not too late!) and also thought it was quite cinematic... wrote it before I had any record deals to speak of (on my couch in Philly)." He also noted that his bandmate Rob Laakso "triggered the acoustics thru a modular synth (I know which one I'm just not telling you)... they call him the doctor for that reason."
Later, Kurt noted that "Puppet to the Man" came after a request from Matador. "Somewhere in the process of turning in the record, matador asked for a rocker so I gave them two. This is the first one, so..." He continued, mentioning the line, "I bet by now you probably think I'm a puppet to the man... well I'll tell you right now you best believe that I am," saying "Get the play on the lyrics(?)." He also noted that, at the time the record came about, he and the band "were sorta like suburban ramones back then (a gang) (even tho we lived in the city it was still Philly not cbgb's)."
Kurt also gave a few little insider tidbits and heartfelt moments throughout the conversation, including nods to Kim Gordon and the late David Berman. "'Society was @KimletGordon's fave on this album. Love you Kim! And I also heard David Berman loved it by a friend of his who relayed it to me. Rest In Peace, David. We all love and miss you."
As to the album in general, Kurt said it "was recorded for two weeks before my first daughter was born (up at magic shop, nyc and Water Music, Hoboken) then John [Agnello] came to me down in Philly where we *tried* to finish soon after I became a... DAD!" Kurt said "In My Time" was the first 'dad song' he ever wrote, just a few days after his daughter was born!
As to signing to Matador around the time of the record's release, Kurt said the timing worked out for him. "['Peeping Tom'] was a live staple circa Childish Prodigy album cycle (previous album!) I remember writing it the night before I walked into my job at Philadelphia Brewing Company and got fired a couple hours later... cosmic! (A week later it was in all the local papers that I signed to @matadorrecords... in yo face!)"
As for the song "Smoke Ring for My Halo," Kurt says he "made this the title track cuz it was my fave tune of the sessions... deceptively simple but special, hypnotic and groovy... didn’t want it to accidentally get overlooked," then adding it's "got some late 70s early 80s Stones influence. Violators... a beautiful era lookin back.. nostalgic... solid album... I was 30 years old makin music... felt like a child.
To check out the whole conversation, you can catch a recap (and even listen along to the record in real-time) on Tim's Twitter Listening Party website. You can listen to Smoke Ring for My Halo below as well.
In other news, Kurt also announced that the album will be reissued as a special deluxe anniversary edition -- part of Matador's "Revisionist History" series, so stay tuned for more details on that.