Kurt Vile has done one of NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts before, but last time, he was joined by Courtney Barnett, as the two were promoting their collaborative album, Lotta Sea Lice. Now he’s returned to the size-deficient office space, but this time, he was on his own… well, aside from guitarist Rob Laakso.
Even though Vile’s sound is often defined by a sense of relaxation that few others achieve in the way that he does, that doesn’t mean his songs are lazy or low-effort. There’s often complex guitar work in his tracks, like on the set-opening “Bassackwards,” which proved how consistent Vile is, as the performance sounded very faithful to the album version. Following that was a song Vile said was called “Working Class Hero Is Something To Be” before adding, “But also ‘Loading Zones.'” The track saw Vile blow into his harmonica for the first time, which added a pleasing texture to the performance. To close out the set, he dug back into the archives a bit and busted out “Peeping Tomboy,” from Vile’s 2011 album Smoke Ring For My Halo. That song was just Vile on acoustic guitar, without backing from Laakso.
Watch Vile’s Tiny Desk performance above, and revisit our review of Bottle It In here.