The High Life: Edibles, melancholy, and Kurt Vile

The High Life: Edibles and Kurt Vile

The edibles—chocolate chip cookies with Girl Scout Cookies weed masterfully baked into them—were hand delivered to my door by a trustworthy dealer. They were not Girl Scout cookies proper, such as, say, Thin Mints or Samoas containing Girl Scout Cookies weed—a missed opportunity—but weed is getting a little too cute and a bit too fucking profesh these days so it was refreshing that it wasn't so damned high concept. And it is still a vast improvement over the um, "dooby snacks" of my teens—cheap waxy chocolate, interrupted by unevenly dispensed chunks of bud every couple of bites.

Girl Scout Cookies, by the way, is a rather infamous hybrid of OG Kush and Durban Poison (and, some say, a few other types) and as such, reintroduces the same blurry-brained concerns I expressed in last month's column about OG Diesel. Namely, that these hybrids are often too much—a twisting, busied high that doesn't quite pay off—and towards no real end besides being really, unpleasantly fucked up. This is less true of Girl Scout Cookies than OG Diesel though. When you smoke Girl Scout Cookies, it's more like Romulan (the much-praised strain from two columns ago) and brings with it a stringy, opiate-esque high. But still, eating Girl Scout Cookies offsets some of the flash flood high of smoking it, especially if you don't eat the whole cookie or even half the cookie all at once, which was hard because the fruity taste of the weed along with the chocolate chip cookie taste was in and of itself, really delicious.

Not eating the whole edible immediately was something of a revelation for me. That's mostly on me and my own inability to stop and an addict's desire to feel better and better until "better" is terrible. But I'm not alone in finding edibles troublesome. The way the high hits you, all at once and then in more waves, isn't fun—that's a common complaint. But by munching on small pieces of the cookie over the span of a few days, I was privy to a pleasant, energetic high. Like being drunk and taking adderall at the same time. Lots of talking and thinking and just a general excitement about all the things bumping around in my brain. I wanted to do many things and see through a few ideas I kept putting off. A strong strain of weed in an edible, eaten consistently throughout the day, turned out to be ideal. It enabled a foggy sort of clarity about things.

Speaking of foggy clarity, discursive sweetheart singer-songwriter Kurt Vile plays the Ottobar this week. Vile's oft-dude-ish guitar playing (the doomy riffing of 'Hunchback'; the strut of 'KV Crimes'') complemented by an aloof, Dylan-esque (without the literary pretense) lyricism makes him one of the most interesting people mining a folk tradition or really, picking up the folk tradition and dropping it somewhere else entirely. And if he takes himself less seriously than Dylan then he is also chill in an existential way rather than a doofus-y way. Things are at-stakes in Kurt Vile's music. Consider the "woah bro" knowingness of 'Pretty Pimpin,' the single from last year's "B'lieve I'm Goin Down..." in which Vile stares into the mirror, sees himself, doesn't recognize himself, then does kind of see himself and declares it all to be "pretty pimpin'." And so much of his masterfully rambling album from 2013, "Wakin' On a Pretty Daze" is about how great he is at playing the guitar (it is as "skillz"-concerned as any 90's hip-hop album). And when he isn't low-key bigging himself up, he's offering disarming honesty underscored by charitable skepticism and acrid sadness: His excellent 2013 EP was titled "it's a big world out there (and I am scared)"; one of my favorite lines of his comes from 'Baby's Arms' off 2011's "Smoke Ring For My Halo" in which he mutters, "I get sick of just about everyone"; and then there's this mocking ramble from 'That's Life, Tho (Almost Hate to Say)': "When I go out, I take pills to take the edge off or to just take a chillax, man and forget about it/ Just a certified badass out for a night on the town/ Ain't it oh exciting, the way one can fake their way through life/ But that's neither here or there."

There's existential weight to these stoner songs that counters the longstanding carefree pot music tradition. I'm talking about embracing the sprawling space jamming of Hawkwind instead of the dopey noodling of Grateful Dead or the Rolling Stones' doped-up evil over the Beatles giggly utopianism or Bob Marley's ruffled "Catch A Fire" instead of his softer "Exodus"—or better yet, Lee "Scratch" Perry's chaotic "Return of the Super Ape" over both of those. In interviews over the years, Vile has said he isn't much of a smoker these days, but nevertheless, he makes melancholic and menacing weed music—the only kind there is as far as I am concerned. Go check him out and bring a few pungent crumbs of an edible with you.

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