What to Listen to This Week

Kurt Vile is comfortably in weird old pro mode on “(watch my moves).”


From teenage remix-contest winner to New Age maestro to explorer of ‘90s internet nostalgia, Canadian producer CFCF rarely settles down for long. Yet the best distillation of his approach is the Exercises EP, released 10 years ago, which defines the stately calm and poise he brings to nearly all his music. The high point is “Exercise 5 (September),” a cover of a song by the brainy cult-favorite artist David Sylvian that manages to be even more magisterial than its source material.


Kurt Vile is comfortably in weird old pro mode on (watch my moves), one of his loosest and most immersive albums. Ostensibly a tribute to songwriting, it doesn’t have much actual songwriting on it: just circular mantras and stoner talk elevated to an art form. Yet it’s his best-sounding album in nearly 10 years, and his frequent references to family life raise the stakes beyond just slacker rock. How better to show you’re domestic and still freaky than to pose on the cover with your kids in a dragon mask?


When he’s not teaching shoemaking classes from his Piedmont studio, master cobbler Jason Hovatter stitches the sounds of his environment into seasonal “mixtapes”as Learning From Place. Field, his fall-winter 2021 mixtape on Bandcamp, is an hourlong trip through Oregon at its wettest and windiest, the better to listen to from the comfort of your home without having to brave the elements. And yes, his two callings combine sometimes; shoemaking tool music is exactly what it sounds like.


Lucy Liyou is one of America’s most exciting young avant-gardists, incorporating text-to-speech software into fearlessly personal and poignant sound collages. Welfare is the more ambitious of her two albums so far, inspired by Korean folk opera and allowing its tracks to sprawl over 10-plus minutes, while the pop song-length, quickly-recorded tracks on Practice are less forbidding if slightly less head-spinning. American Dreams is reissuing them together as a double LP on May 20.