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Melbourne's Courtney Barnett and Philly's Kurt Vile are cut from the same mop of hair. Both write slowly unfolding, loosely swaying rock 'n' roll songs spun from long tales and longer yarns, which unspool as they chase the thread to psychedelic ends. The two were mutual admirers, and became friends on the festival circuit.
"I love all her music, but the song that really hit me was 'Depreston,'" Vile writes in a press release. "I know it's popular, but her voice is so good in that song and it's so pretty and sincere ... I'm a sucker for that kinda song: instant classic."
"I'm a huge Kurt fan," Barnett says. "Smoke Ring [for My Halo] was one of my first purchases on vinyl. I was getting over a big breakup, unemployed and drifting and I would just lie on my bed and listen to 'Peepin' Tom' on repeat. One of the most beautiful and luscious albums I ever heard. Me and Jen fell in love to that album."
The result is Lotta Sea Lice, an album-length collaboration written and recorded over 15 months when their schedules aligned. It's the sort of partnership that makes you smack your forehead, like the idea's been staring you in the face the whole time.
"When I'm all alone, on my own, by my lonesome and there ain't single 'nother soul around / I wanna dig into my guitar and bend a blues riff that haaaaaangs over everything," Vile sings to open the album's first single, "Over Everything." In the charming black-and-white video, Barnett and Vile sing each other's lyrics as they play guitar on beaches, sidewalks and in open fields.
Lotta Sea Lice comes out Oct. 13 via Matador.