In the current generation of indie-rock heroes, Kurt Vile may be the closest we come to a Tom Petty. The former War On Drugs player and already-prolific solo artist makes music for the everyman: tunes that meander and charge forward with an equal sense of intensity. Vile’s no perfectionist, though, and his balance of prowess and vulnerability is precisely what makes Wakin on a Pretty Daze so great. On the album’s almost-title track, “Wakin on a Pretty Day,” the hook speeds up with every pass, as if Vile were trying to find his groove, then ends in an intricate, dazzling display of free-form noodling. Blessed with a voice that carries the grizzled edge of Springsteen and a delivery style that draws comparison to Neil Young’s mumble-mouthed poetry, it’s no wonder Vile is fast becoming the go-to man for road-trip mixtapes. He makes the kind of guitar music that begs you to shove your head out the car window as you wind down the interstate.


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