No Angel

“This album is the most songoriented record I’ve made,” Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Kurt Vile says of Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador), his fourth full-length release, out March 8. The album, folksy and road-weary, is also his most focused: The song “Ghost Town,” in particular, exemplifies the kind of nostalgia-steeped, vaguely psychedelic lows that give the album shape, achieved, ironically, through a hit of sonic aimlessness. This is new territory for Vile, who was once compared to musicians as diverse as Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty, Animal Collective, and Psychic TV in a single review. “Looking back, I notice that the songs are all sort of tragic,” he says. “But the album has that sort of drifter, melancholy vibe. This record was the first one where I knew exactly where I was going.” More info at