Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kurt Vile is no joke

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge NOT SO VILE: Kurt Vile unveils his sophomore release.
  • NOT SO VILE: Kurt Vile unveils his sophomore release.

Strange semantics surround the Philadelphia-born guitarist, vocalist and home-recording devotee Kurt Vile. His name isn't an attempt to create a Johnny Rotten-like persona for his dreamy folk, pop and minimalist rock songs. Nor is it a play on 20th-century German composer Kurt Weill. It's his family's name, and there isn't a hint of irony in his voice when he explains it away. "Some people are shocked that it's real. Others just can't believe it," Vile says. "It never fails."

But irony is thick when he sings, "You tell me a good man is hard to find. What are you blind? Nevermind. Let's try to have a good time," in "Dead Alive" from Childish Prodigy, his third proper album and first for Matador Records. The lyrics are Dylan-esque in their rambling construction, but juvenile in their lazy delivery. When taken alongside Vile's starry-eyed guitar picking, swimming in reverb, other songs such as "Hunchback," "Overnite Religion" and "Freak Train," gel with clumsy beauty that's as captivating as it is perplexing.

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(Photo Courtesy Shawn Brackbill)

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