Kurt Vile took to Conan O'Brien's show last night to promote the release of his buzzed about new album, b'lieve i'm goin down, playing the album's single, "Pretty Pimpin" and as a web exclusive, the album's final track, "Wild Imagination."
Vile was his usual unconventional self as he stood with his long wavy hair in a green army jacket, not moving during the entire performance. But he didn't need to as the song brings a lot of energy on its own, especially at the end of the performance when his band, dressed up in some rather stark '70s attire, grooved on that folk rock rhythm during the outro.
Without much time on cable television to play with the instrumentation of the song, Vile opted for some reimagining of the song's vocal rhythms. At times he seemed out of breath, despite his lack of movement, as he stumbled over lyrics like the best Bob Dylan songs do.
As a web exclusive, Vile also performed a stripped down version of "Wild Imagination," which is already pretty sparse as the album's final melancholy tune. Vile on his guitar and the band's drummer with a tambourine and a shaker sat down in Conan's backstage area for a wonderful depiction of a song we're only just starting to learn and fall in love with.
"I'm looking at you," Vile sings on the solemn song. "But it's only a picture so I take that back. But it's not really a picture, it's an image on a screen."
One of the best moments though has to be seeing Vile smile and laugh when he screws up his pronunciation of the song, if it's only to see him unguarded for just a moment.
Watch the backstage performance below and check out his official website for tour dates. The new album, b'lieve i'm goin down, is available for purchase online and streaming everywhere.