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Kurt Vile wants you to believe that's his real name, and it certainly provides a hook to hang the heavy hype this disc, his first for Matador, gets. Confidentially, though, a guy writing lines like "You say a good man is hard to find... Rewind!!!" probably wants to paper over his life, from moniker down, in wit.

And that's not a bad thing. Over the disc's 50 minutes he strews enough wit to bring you in, and very little chest beating or effrontery to drive you out. The album starts out with Vile calling himself a hunchback, but he doesn't whine, he just lays down his grease-reeking take on the blues (the feel, not the form). He knows when he's having a bad day, and he knows it just might resemble your bad day.

The maestro and his merry men (often though not always his Violators backing band) take very little from the strident, pleading soul of Vile's native Philly. They love such throbbing and smearing early '70s guitars and keyboards as can be salvaged from pawnshops. They love echo, both for echo's sake and for the extended life it grants to anything whooping, twanged, or banged. Against all of that Vile works his witty vocal voodoo like a lethargic Jagger, or the sleepy-headed EPMD. Two bonus tracks makes for one bonus track too many, but Vile remains a hale fellow, well met, fond of junkyard sounds, and a must-have for the Memorial Day barbecue.

Artist: Kurt Vile
Label: Matador
Songs: (1) Childish Prodigy (2) Hunchback (3) Dead Alive (4) Overnite Religion (5) Fream Train (6) Blackberry Song (7) Monkey (8) Heart Attack (9) Amplifier (10) Inside Looking Out

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Russ Lewis Sept. 30, 2009 @ 3:42 p.m.

I have no idea what this record sounds like, but this review is a pleasure to read; it sounds great. (The review.)


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