Basement Medicine

“Lotta Sea Lice,” give it a try

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“Lotta Sea Lice” by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile is the first album that they have released as a duo. This album was released in 2017 on Milk! Records, Barnett’s label, and Matador Records, Vile’s label.

For those who don’t know, Barnett and Vile are indie rock artists known worldwide for their respected pieces of work before coming together for their work on “Lotta Sea Lice.” Barnett is from Melbourne, Australia, and made her name known on the indie rock scene with her 2014 hit “Avant Gardener,” a song about an asthma attack she had while gardening. Vile is from Philadelphia and is known for helping start the band The War On Drugs, and his solo hits such as “Pretty Pimpin” and “Walking On A Pretty Daze.”

Before I get to the music, the artwork on the album cover and inside is so cool. It isn’t much to look at when listening to this album on Spotify, since all you can see is Vile and Barnett sitting next to each other in black and white. If you open up on vinyl, you can see pictures of Barnett and Vile and the rest of their band during the recording of the album and, on top of that, the lyrics of each of the songs is printed on the inside flap.

I’ve been collecting vinyl albums for about three years now and this album is one of the coolest designs that I have ever collected, along with Led Zeppelin’s “Led Zeppelin IV” and The Black Keys’ “Turn Blue.” I find it so cool that artists put time and effort into their design of their album. Some don’t, and you’ll get just a record inside an album cover, but the “Lotta Sea Lice” album definitely had a lot of work done for its album design.

The way that I would describe this album is just two friends writing songs about many different topics, with a mellow sound going along with it. One example of this is the song “Over Everything,” where the whole song is a conversation between Vile and Barnett, singing and discussing their processes to write songs. The song starts off with Vile singing, “When I’m all alone on my own by my lonesome, and there ain’t a single ’nother soul around, I wanna dig into my guitar bend a blues riff that hangs over everything.” Barnett then sings, “When I’m by myself and it’s daytime cause down-under, or wherever it is I live when it’s evening. You know I speed-read the morning news and come up with my own little song also too.” This seven-minute song has some really good guitar play by both artists, putting the listener in a good mood with the mellow sound. A weird and unorthodox song about writing songs is for sure the big hit on the album and one of my favorites.

The other hit is the song “Continental Breakfast.” I think that this is the coolest song on the album, because it discusses their friendship and other friendships that they have from across the globe over a hotel continental breakfast. The lyrics are accompanied by another mellow musical sound with guitars, similar to “Over Everything.” One of my favorite lyrics is, “I cherish my intercontinental friendships. We talk it over continental breakfast. In a hotel in East Bumble, wherever. Somewhere on the sphere, around here.” I really like listening to this song when I’m driving through Vermont because it has a nice road trip vibe to it. I would highly suggest that others try it also.

The most underrated song on this album was “Blue Cheese.” The amount of joy I had listening to it made it one of my favorites. When it comes to this song, you’ll have no idea what it means, but it has such a feel good vibe to it that you don’t really care. There are lyrics that are so random, such as, “Now I’m calling the cops on you! Nanny nanny boo boo, narcin’ you out,” and, “I didn’t mean to cough on her. Forgot to add the fabric softener,” but you go along with it because it’s a fun song.

If you’re an indie rock fan and looking to kill an hour with a feel-good album, I would suggest giving this a try. Barnett is releasing an album in May, and both go on tour this summer all across America.

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“Lotta Sea Lice,” give it a try