The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2015. We gathered best-of lists from staff and contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us this year.
The other day I asked a friend, “If sunny and warm wasn’t an option, what would be the best kind of weather?” I was surprised when they answered “really windy?” Obviously, I needed an explanation. “Because it feels like being an ocean creature caught in a current,” they told me. “The air becomes something you experience. It’s exciting.”
I later realized that was a great way to sum up Kurt Vile’s sixth studio album, b’lieve i’m goin down…. Equal parts same old Kurt Vile approach to song writing and tone, with a new examination of success and the underwhelming feeling that it provides. Vile’s made a slacker rock sermon with this album; it falls together so well, it’s easy to see how it made many best-of lists this year.
Earlier this year, I volunteered for Toronto’s TURF festival and was called upon to stage-hand for Vile’s fellow Pennsylvanians, Restorations. I was assured that the world had really caught onto Vile when they dished out a local-boy-makes-good story, about him. It reminded me of how I talk about Toronto bands when I’m in other parts of the world.
What a good year it’s been for Kurt Vile, but I fear it’s left him feeling a bit beside himself. In the video for “Pretty Pimpin” (above), you see Vile trying to b’lieve what’s happening to himself. He sings about not knowing who he’s become—who is this man in the mirror? Well, whoever he is, he brings chill times whenever I drop a needle on this record.
If you can, get the expanded b’lieve i’m goin’ (deep) down… version of the album; the extra tracks are so good you’ll wonder why they weren’t on the original release. You get a few instruments too.