Dawes / Kurt Vile and the Violators
Central Park Mainstage (mid-park, 72nd St., Manhattan)
A self-described “American rock ‘n’ roll band,” Dawes represent everything pure and true about that genre, four talented friends making music together, fueled by a shared belief in the power of their songs. With Nothing Is Wrong, the Los Angeles-based band continues to master their blend of singer/songwriter reflection with folk, country and AOR-inspired arrangements, all ringing guitars, soaring harmonies and heartfelt melodies. After spending the past two years on tour, songs like “Coming Back To A Man” have a restless, unsettled quality evocative of life lived on the road. It’s a collection of songs that expertly builds upon the template laid by 2009’s extraordinary debut, North Hills, Nothing Is Wrong.
Kurt Vile and the Violators have a way of tying time in knots. You can hear it on their newest album, Smoke Ring For My Halo where the pinwheeling guitars and reaching atmospheres of the single, “Baby’s Arms” are as strange as they are familiar: a demonstration of how Vile can put worn methods and sounds through himself and end up with something that isn’t emotionally or sonically obvious. By marrying the introspection of the nocturnal stoner with the exploration of a troubadour frontiersman, Vile belongs to a long lineage of classic American songwriters, but he’s the only one who’s alive and in his prime today.