Kurt Vile Credit: courtesy the artist

I was certain that Philadelphia musician Kurt Vile had shed all his weirdness as he grew older and his public profile leaped from underground phenom to indie success. On his breakthrough third album, 2009’s Childish Prodigy, Vile was a ramblin’ psychedelic storyteller, playing freaky fingerstyle folk through lush, hazy soundscapes. But as he began experiencing more mainstream acceptance, his records started to reflect that: the songs were still great, but he pushed aside the sonic experimentation that dominated his earlier work for breezy heartland indie rock. Last year’s Lotta Sea Lice, Vile’s collaborative LP with Courtney Barnett, focuses completely on restraint and simplicity. So October’s Bottle It In (Matador), which melds his recent laid-back folk-rock songwriting with his past weirdo tendencies, arrived like a breath of fresh air. Vile delivers dreamy melodies in his characteristic half-asleep vocals that ride simple, hooky rhythms while blown-out synths, alien guitars, and atonal harp set the tone for a fun, exciting dive back into the experimental.   v