Track Review: Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, “Over Everything”

By: Daven Boparai

Photos by Tom Ross via newmarketstudios.com.au

     They say oil and water don’t mix, but thankfully Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile do. They’re a musical match made in indie heaven.

The last we heard of Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile was back in 2015. Both exited the year with their own critically acclaimed albums – Barnett with Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit and Vile with b’lieve i’m goin down… .

Barnett was praised for her skill to write gentle & intricate songs, revolving around her mundane days, anxieties, and kooky inquisitions about life. Along with this, the artist has an ability to create a sonic atmosphere that captures listeners imaginations. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit earned her a grammy nomination for Best New Artist, and the title of Songwriter of the Year from the APRA Music Awards.   

Vile, on the other hand, is no stranger to the indie music scene. Active since 2003, he’s been involved within band The War on Drugs, as well as had his own expansive, solo career. Vile’s music is folksy and dreamy. His laid-back, drawn-out voice, and array of instruments like the banjo, piano and guitar challenge listeners by offering Vile’s perspective on life, and the world he lives in.

Both Vile and Barnett are known to be able to find meaning in the mundane, in the sense that their lyrics are easily relatable and comforting. They also play similar rock ‘n roll tracks, endings full of anticipation and psych riffs and roars that swing a listener back and forth. Before meeting, the duo were fans of each other. Barnett, in an interview with NPR, mentioned that she had fallen in love with her ex-girlfriend, Jen Cloher, while listening to Kurt Vile’s album Smoke Ring For My Halo. Kurt also mentioned his admiration for Barnett’s song, “Depreston,” on her last album. Meeting up and creating amazing music was just bound to happen for these two artists.

On their debut single, “Over Everything,” Barnett and Vile take turns leading vocally through short verses about blissful solitude or possibly, thoughtful sadness, over a very Kurt Vile-sounding track. Like many Kurt Vile tracks, we’re treated to a folksy meditative riff that transforms into a spacey folk lo-fi atmosphere towards the end. The black & white music video that accompanies the track features the duo lip-singing each other’s lyrics into the camera with a Fender guitar in hand and with that, there is no doubt that Barnett and Vile are exactly what the indie music scene needs in 2017. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile’s Lotta Sea Lice is set to release October 13th via Matador Records. Be sure to check out this spooky duo in Toronto on October 31st at Massey Hall

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