Kurt Vile has a persona, and you know him by now: He is the weird quiet kid in the corner, the one who seems at first lost in his own world and disconnected from everything around him, but turns out to be smart, observant, and low-key hilarious. So while his albums draw you in with the vibe-the impeccably recorded and mixed songs that shuffle bits of folk, new wave, or country in the mix but are always squarely down-the-middle rock-you return to them for their human qualities, the way they offer a manner of seeing the world, a glimpse at a perspective that feels both voyeuristic and easy to connect to your own life.
You have to feel for Vile when he does early interviews for one of his records and he's asked to characterize them. Music writers look for a story, an angle, a hook, and he gamely tries to give them one, a reason why an upcoming record is different from his last few. In the case of b'lieve i'm goin down, he pointed out that it was darker, an album from the night, written in the lonely quiet hours after his wife and two children had gone to sleep. (My favorite quote on this came from his interview with Rolling Stone: "It's definitely got that night vibe...KV's Night Life-it's my sequel to Donald Fagen's The Nightfly").