Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kurt Vile - Constant Hitmaker

Kurt Vile
Constant Hitmaker
(03.2008, Gulcher)
Verdict = It’s true; he’s constantly making hits!

Keep an eye on Kurt Vile. Just as his debut album title coyly suggests, Vile knows how to make a good song. We should probably make that plural: Vile knows how to make good songs, and of every suit too. Vile puts on just about every singer songwriter hat possible, from the Tom Petty-esque electric pop of “Breathin’ Out” to the unassuming lo-fi charm of “Don’t Get Cute” to the droney outsider weirdo ballad of “Freeway” to the plucked acoustic splendor of “Slow Talkers.” And that’s just the first four tracks! Sitting somewhere between Chad VanGaalen, Blank Dogs, The Tallest Man Alive and David Thomas Broughton; Kurt Vile has carved himself out a wonderful little spot with this surprising first album. The great part about Vile’s ability to inhabit so many different styles is that, within each, he sounds completely genuine. On Constant Hitmaker, each veritable “hit” feels (and is, I assume) wholly authentic. Because of the relative divergence in style from track to track, the album plays kind of like a greatest hits album. That isn’t to say that Constant Hitmaker isn’t cohesive, it plays kind of like one of those classic greatest hits albums that works so well that it kind of turns into an album in its own right (kind of like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits album, if I can reference him again). Vile has a knack for fully constructing each song with just the right balance of craft and recklessness to allow it to stand on its own two feet and live an honest, though slightly corrupted life. Constant and consistent, Vile’s Hitmaker is one of the most assured and promising debuts I have heard in a long time. Highly recommended.

-Mr Thistle

Kurt Vile on Myspace

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