Release date: April 9 Highlight: "Wakin on a Pretty Day," "Never Run Away"
Kurt Vile's ascension to king of the "slow dude" rock movement has progressed at the pace that most of his songs adopt—a sluggish but steady chug full of twists and turns that eventually wind up into a thin-aired higher atmosphere. If Vile has a mountain-top record, it's this one. Wakin on a Pretty Daze, his second album for Matador records, sees Vile lounging in the riff, but he's also pressing into crises of human existence with more verve than ever. For a man who is married with two kids, Vile's lyrics still read like the musings of a celibate monk focused on the inner-workings of the spirit. Sure, there's references to his personal life, but they're oblique and wrapped in larger-than-life imagery as on "Shame Chamber" and " KV Crimes." This record leaves behind a lot of the acoustic frameworks of older material, opting instead for noisier, or muddled electronics in place of the quiet strumming. Still, this record feels like Kurt as the most himself, as he sings on "Goldtone—"I might be adrift, but I'm still alert"—or as another poet once quoted "not all those who wander are lost."—Caitlin White