In recent years, Philadephia‘s Kurt Vile and Melbournes‘ Courtney Barnett have come to represent two major forces in the indie music scene, carving their own separate, yet equally unique, paths based solely on their respective songwriting capabilities. Long admirers of one another’s work, the duo has chosen to join forces and will be releasing a collaborative album later this year, and they already have a full string of dates lined up to support the release, backed by nothing short of an “all-star” band.
Described by Vile as “A cookin’ band and an intercontinental country duo for the ages-minus the country,” the two songwriters will be performing material both from their upcoming album, as well as offerings from their respective catalogs, while being supported by, “The Sea Lice,” a revolving cast of musicians that includes such notable figures as Janet Weiss (Quasi, Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag), Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), Rob Laakso (The Violators, The Swirlies, Mice Parade) and Katie Harkin (Harkin, Sky Larkin and touring member of Sleater-Kinney and Wild Beasts).
The upcoming album, which will be a joint release between Matador Records, Marathon Artists and Milk! Records, may have taken only 8 days to record, but the process was spread out over the course of nearly 15 months, as the pair was forced to work around their busy tour schedules and find time to come together.
Barnett explains the roots of the collaboration as follows:
“In 2014 I scored a support slot opening for Kurt at the Abbotsford Convent [outside Melbourne]. We met briefly after the show but I was a bit nervous and didn’t wanna bother him, just grateful for the gig. Years later, we started bumping into each other on the festival circuit all around the wide world and we became friends. He hit me up when he was coming to Melbourne next and said he thought we could work together.”
The initial idea wasn’t to create a full-length, that was just something that naturally evolved from the process. Vile elaborates:
“It started out as, maybe we’ll do a split 7″ together but then I figured let’s make it a 12″ so it doesn’t get lost in the world, shoot for 5 songs. It wasn’t until i had another KV tour booked for the following summer in Oz that we thought we should record as much as we can, just see what happens, no major goal to make it a full length, but it came together that way ’cause the vibe was so strong with everyone.”
Of course, the real seeds of the collaboration were born from a mutual appreciation for each other’s work.
“I’m a huge Kurt fan.” states Barnett. “Smoke Ring was one of my first purchases on vinyl. I was getting over a big break-up, 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.”
Vile views his collaborator in a similar scope.
“I just love her voice in general… great lyrics of course… I love all her music but the song that really hit me was “Depreston”-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.“
Our predication for this one-off tour is that tickets are going to move fast. Peep the full list of tour dates [with links] below. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 9th at 10AM local time.