Hell yeah to that Philly music

November 16, 2011

About a year ago I discovered Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile and instantly dug his sound. I even got to see him play live in Calgary during Sled Island last year. It was the night before the Ride to Conquer Cancer charity bike tour but I stayed till he shut the place down, got home at 2:30am, and was up and ready to ride 100k at 6:30. Totally worth it.

So what a surprise to come across The War on Drugs, to also instantly jive with their sound and lyrics, and to learn that this is a band that Vile cofounded. His influence is unmistakable. That languid drawl and fuzzy, filtered sound. There must be something about that corner of PA that fills these guys up to brimming. Like the Ireland of North America. Hard times and a hard scrabble history amongst a pastoral landscape. A working class heritage that refuses to lower its gaze and wears its scars openly, as a matter of fact.

The song conveys the feeling of a homecoming after being away and disconnected. The colors rushing by are the blurred memories of the road, and the way the imagery is shot; in that soft, golden light feels very nostalgic to me. Like old, faded photographs or a warm memory of a summer day. All that speaks of home. The way the drum picks up intensity and force conveys a sense of arrival.His cheer at 1.52 is victory. The words talk of accepting a place, loving it, being proud of it, despite its warts and scars, and then wanting and finding your own place in that familiar land. A piece of home is carried with the singer – ‘all roads lead to me.’ Its a part of him as much as he’s a part of it.

Love it.

Lead me back to the place I’m from
Past the farms and debris
You can see it from the highlands
As you roam ‘long the range

I’ve been on the look for a quiet place
It’s not far from of the range, baby
Take me back to the one I love
It’s not far, it’s on the way

I’ve been ramblin’

Burning tires on my street
Past the roar and debris, baby
All the kids dance around it
But he lacks what he sees

I’ve been drinking up on the sweet teeth
It was made just for me

I’ve been ramblin’
I’m just driftin’

Looking out for the one I love
I’ve been down by the sea, baby
I’ve been up in the highlands
Past the farms and debris

I’ve been rollin’ down on the good stuff
Past the roads I can see, oh babe
Lead me back to the one I love
All roads lead to me

I’ve been movin’
I’ll be driftin’