Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy

Earlier this year the Kurt Vile song “Freeway”, from last year’s Constant Hitmaker, turned the Philly native into a minor blog sensation. The song’s appeal was obvious - it’s an open-road gem with ringing guitars and a bright, chirpy melody. It was also a dead-ringer for some of the better songs from Vile’s other recording project, The War On Drugs (who, led by Adam Granduciel with help from Vile, released a pretty great album last year). The blog success of “Freeway” directly proceeded the announcement of Vile’s signing with Matador, who were very quick to point out just how excited they were to be working with the young upstart. Along with the release of a few appetite-whetting free downloads, news soon came of another record, Childish Prodigy, which has been released this week.

The months of anticipation has paid off, as Childish Prodigy not only lives up to the modest hype Vile has been generating, but exceeds expectations. It’s a terrific rock & roll album that goes back and forth between heavy, stomping full band rockers and murky, hypnotic folk-blues that feature little more than guitar, noise effects, and vocals. Both sides of Vile’s writing are effective and are displayed on the dirty, Fun House-like “Hunchback” and the hazy, looping “Overnight Religion” (both featured below). There are hints of Neil Young, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, and Tom Petty throughout the many other highlights, but Vile’s songs are distinctive enough to not sound like they are just replicating the sounds of classic rock radio. Childish Prodigy is a more than just a step up from the lo-fi sounds of his previous two albums - it’s the announcement of a fine young songwriter with a bright future. As he says himself - "You’re telling me a good man is hard to find, well, what are you blind?"

MP3 :: Hunchback
MP3 :: Overnight Religion
(from Childish Prodigy. Buy here)

Here’s Vile and his band The Violators performing “Hunchback”:


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