Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice

This is the duo misfits and indie rock fans everywhere have been waiting for. Courtney Barnett has been a Kurt Vile fan ever since she blindly picked up his fourth album, Smoke Ring for My Halo, on vinyl one day. After that, Barnett opened for Vile and then after frequent encounters at festivals they became friends. From there, they decided to collaborate. The original plan was to make two singles, but luckily they surprised us with 9 tracks on October 13th, 2017.

This album was a result of 8 days in the studio spread out from January 4, 2016 to March 8, 2017, nearly 15 months. This is the result of the busy tour schedules and Barnett and Vile’s “intercontinental friendship” they sing of on their second single, Continental Breakfast. However, the minimal studio time and hectic schedules are not clear in this mellow release.

Vile’s style is apparent in the tracks he writes, like Continental Breakfast, but Courtney and Kurt’s partnership brings out the best in them individually. Courtney writes about feeling lost in Let it Go, “What comes first: the chorus or the verse? / I’m a bit lost at the moment.” But it’s through her pairing with Kurt that we see Courtney “let it go” and push through the writer’s block.

Lotta Sea Lice is the ultimate hangout album. If an artist’s music reflects their personality, Kurt and Courtney seem like a free and easy gang. This album does not try to hard, it is honest and organic music perfect for a Sunday cup o’ joe and some repose. Nowhere on this album do you find two singers competing for the spotlight. Kurt and Courtney highlight each other creating a warmth for the listener to dwell in. This album is a deserving contribution to both of their bodies of work.

Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett have announced a North American tour and hopefully the collaboration won’t end there.

Recommended If You Like: Waxahatchee, Mitski, Kevin Morby, Julien Baker
Recommended Tracks: Over Everything, Continental Breakfast
Do Not Play: None
Written by Miranda Roberts on 11/28/2017

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