There’s something about Kurt Vile’s soft-spoken, backwoods drawl that makes it tough to believe he’s actually from Philadelphia: His lucid folk is shot through with such dense melancholy and after-hours mysticism that it’s tough to peg him being from anywhere but the strange gothic jungles of the South. Something feels much untamed, and it’s not just his thick tangle of hair. Having spent the better part of the last year touring behind last spring’s affecting Smoke Ring for My Halo, Vile is nothing if not active, despite his decidedly slacker aesthetic.

Kurt Vile

“The Creature”

Vile’s recently released single, “The Creature,” taken from the upcoming So Outta Reach EP, is driven by his embittered vocal delivery and some inspired 12-string finger-picking that recalls legendary folkie John Fahey, to whom Vile’s been compared favorably. Backing Vile are the ever-loyal Violators, here contributing a slow-burning organ and a sparse rhythm section that makes the most out of some shakers and a steady-but-powerful bass drum stomp. Lines like “They call me the creature of habit / But I’m a man, you just ain’t” ring with a certain plaintive confidence you just can’t find in less road-weary (or maybe just plain life-weary) artists. And frankly, it’s tough not to agree with him.

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