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Recent Matador signing Kurt Vile plays Howlers with Centipede

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Constant hitmaker: Kurt Vile
  • Constant hitmaker: Kurt Vile

Philly rocker Kurt Vile seems almost too good to be true. Yes, that's his real name. (His parents must have had an unhealthy obsession with the Weimar Republic.) And indie giant Matador Records scrambled to sign him, perhaps because he just happens to fit right between the lo-fi antics of Jay Reatard and the shimmery fuzz-pop of Yo La Tengo.

Critics usually describe the music of Kurt Vile more in terms of '70s FM-radio icons than shambolic indie trends. Although his 2008 debut Constant Hitmaker was recorded in homemade anti-splendor, it hearkens back to the road-worn simplicity of a Tom Petty, Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen. And that doesn't even touch on his obsession with Neil Young's Trans and Time Fades Away

"He borders on '90s guitar rock, but there are no big solos," says Caulen Kress of Centipede, who's bringing Vile to town this Tuesday. "He also has a bluesy side, but not like the White Stripes. [Vile] relies more on a lot of delay and echo, but it's not garagey -- he's coming at it more from the psych angle, or even slightly shoegazey."

Vile now plays with touring band The Violators, which sometimes includes former Pittsburgher Jesse Trbovich (though this particular show will not). "I really like the full-band stuff -- it's sort of druggy, but also childlike," says Kress.

Vile's latest Matador release is Childish Prodigy, and the attention it's attracting is sending expectations for his live show off the charts. "[I've] gotten way more buzz than I could ever expect," Vile told the Web site Tiny Mix Tapes. "It's all a learning process. Now I'm here [and] every step is kind of exciting. You just keep thinking forward all the time."

 

Kurt Vile with Centipede and The Hidden Twin. 10 p.m. Tue., Dec. 29. Howlers Coyote Café, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $6. 412-682-0320

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