Kurt Vile: Constant Himaker

By: Dennis Cook

What a small marvel this is. Constant Hitmaker (Gulcher Records) shares kinship with vibrantly individual yet unmistakably gifted freaks like Ween (in their early tape-splice days), Jack Logan (similar talent for sophisticated yet simple lyrics that strike to the heart of things), Godley & Creme (plenty of wack-ed-ly catchy 10CC-isms here) as well as the sensitive, bedroom pop artistry of Elliott Smith and Dennis Wilson. Yet, for all these darts thrown into music's big board, Philadelphia's Kurt Vile remains resolutely elusive; a fidgety mind with an eye for great details and pretty much zero restrictions besides the ones he sets himself.

While many talk of the open road, not many capture the feeling of asphalt flying beneath one as they gobble distance from their troubles as well as opener "Freeway." Ambient drift occurs in a few stretches, noticeably the middle section from "Intro In Z" through "Take My Advice," which surfaces in the Beta Band-y "Deep Sea," a sort of bemused, hazily befuddled version of a pop song. "Slow Talkers" unwraps with the melancholy softness of '70s Topanga Canyon rock, frustration given delicacy and language, both spoken and instrumental. The fingerpicked acoustic atmosphere of "Classic Rock In Spring" plays nicely against the big amp implications of the title, and "American Folded" arrives like a squishy radio wave that's come a long distance through space, full of rambling children and pitch bent liquidity. Each track could be poetically parsed but the experience of them is so gosh darn pleasant that there's no need. Just listen and you'll find your own rainbows amongst the hiss and flutter. One suspects there's much more where this came from, and I personally can't wait to hear it.

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EmmaLeeB Tue 3/10/2009 06:41PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I love this album ... definitely one of my most listened to of last year. He does have another EP recorded that he only sold during his tour - Overnight KV. More ambient at times, but still incredibly solid and interesting in its layers.