Every summer, there’s that song. The song that’s everywhere, that defines those sunny days and balmy nights, the one you’ll always associate with a specific time and place. This week, Talkhouse writers talk their song of the summer of 2013.
— the editors of the Talkhouse
My band was on tour somewhere in America. I can’t remember where because that’s what touring does to you. Our guitarist had ripped the latest Kurt Vile album from some website designated for hackers and nerds who need everything first. As we pulled out of the lot of a McDonald’s and onto the highway, we put on Wakin on a Pretty Daze and turned up the volume.
I was fuzzed-out, sitting in the back right seat in our tour van. After eight minutes of Vile pumping through the stereo I realized that we were still on the first track. Then “KV Crimes” came on. This song. This fucking song!
I was listening.
Vile is all about syllables, not lyrics. He has this way of drawing out his words like a slacker trying to prolong summer vacation. The sentences fall out of his mouth inaudible and bleed together. In “KV Crimes” it works in conjunction with the jarring rhythm guitar and country-picked overtones that play along against the grain of the song. But it’s really hard to overanalyze the sonics of one verse and why they resonate with your brain. “KV Crimes” just makes me happy. It’s pure drone-pop genius. It’s sugary sadness. It’s everything I want in a song: simplicity and solid rhythm. I sighed long and hard.
We listened to Wakin on a Pretty Daze a lot of that spring tour. Mostly because my iPhone had only a few albums that all my bandmates could agree on listening to and this was the freshest of the bunch. When our bass player’s father passed away unexpectedly and she flew home for a few days, the rest of us busted out to get from Chicago to Los Angeles and we played Vile over and over and over and over. Everything was dark, but it was sunny out so we tried our best to ignore it and keep going. Vile paralleled our moods. I chewed on gummy worms and drank coffee and felt a little better every time “KV Crimes” came on. I sang along, dazed out and fixated on the song instead of the fact that our a/c was breaking in the desert and our bassist was on an airplane dealing with one of the hardest losses she could ever endure.
“Club-Mate/On holiday/With a moon duo/Space partners,” Vile sings in the last verse, and every time he did, our guitarist would turn around and start talking about our last European tour. “I’m pretty sure that last TM hated our guts,” or something about a gross soup he never wanted to eat again. I saw his train of thought — he drank so much Club-Mate on that tour.
Home from tour, I played “KV Crimes” during my morning shower. I played it while I sat in my apartment writing articles about other bands I couldn’t have cared less about. I played it when stoned, alone in my apartment. It was my go-to. Then, when my band got back in the van to go back on tour, Vile’s album was a constant calming presence. It shut us all up. No one got sick of it. It was comforting and I always skipped the first track to hear the hit “KV Crimes” first because I couldn’t wait a whole eight minutes to sing along to that familiar, dark, sugary tune.