What happens when you put two fabulous musicians in a room together? Permagrins all around. Australian musical genius Courtney Barnett, known for her folky alternative rock style with a touch of punk, and musical genius Kurt Vile, known for his low-key folk style with a touch of grunge, have one thing in common: their stream-of-consciousness approach to songwriting. More than catchy tunes, they are storytellers, making you ponder and giggle about their songs as they paint hilariously detailed images in your mind.
Mutual fans of each other’s music, the two joined forces on the new album Lotta Sea Lice (out now). As if they were siblings who grew up making music together for years, their sounds complement each other in a most organic way. In short, it’s a musical match made in heaven.
Their sold-out show at the Orpheum in Los Angeles Sunday evening proved how excited this city was to see these two perform together. The duo played almost the entire album – shy of just one song – and added some solo favorites as well. Small jokes here and there lightened up the set of these two deliciously awkward musicians, who spent most of their time hiding behind their curtain of hair or looking down at their instruments while on stage. “Continental Breakfast,” they claimed, was dedicated to the steam-punks in the audience.
And so what if the duo had some hick-ups during Gillian Welch’s cover of “Elvis Presley Blues” – it’s their harmonious yet imperfect style that makes their music so uniquely endearing anyway. Vile quickly brushed over it, telling the audience that there would be “only two more songs, that’s all you get; enjoy it while you can.” And enjoyable it was. The duo came back strong with Vile’s solo hit “Pretty Pimpin” and Barnett’s solo hit “Avant Gardener” – Vile’s favorite song, he claimed.
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile will be on tour promoting their album until mid-November. To see if they’re playing in a city near you, head over to their website: courtneybarnettandkurtvile.com.