21st Century Music: Courtney Barnett
21st Century Music postings are focused on artists that have released all their music since the year 2000. These are shorter entries and playlists intended to highlight newer acts that may be of interest to readers that enjoy the older music that is the focus of Ceremony.
When I first heard “Avant Gardener” on my monthly compilation from CMJ magazine it jumped out as one of the most unique sounding songs I’d heard in a long time. However, in these days of voluminous music at our disposal it took awhile for me to check out more of Courtney Barnett’s music. Once I did, I quickly realized that single was not a one-off, and this was a different and intriguing artist worth exploring.
From Australia, her short career started by playing in bands around Melbourne, moving in and out of rock and country sounds. She went solo in 2013 while also playing on her partner, Jen Cloher’s, music. After releasing two EPs her new label, Marathon Artists, released them as a single package, and with a little distribution help Courtney started to grow an international audience. She released her first full-length LP in 2015 and it’s one of the best albums released this decade. After a couple of singles and an album with Kurt Vile (ex-member of War on Drugs), she released her second album in May 2018 followed by more singles coming into 2019.
Her music ranges between folk, country, rock, and a jangly, slacker-style indie sound. Her often blasé vocal style and sardonic lyrics gives her an intriguing sound and sets her apart from the sea of indie bands making the rounds these days. I’ve seen her twice now, first at Massey Hall in Toronto with Kurt Vile in late 2017, and then on tour for her new LP in 2018. She is simply a unique and unstoppable force of catchy lyrical turns, irrepressible melodies and guitar grooves, and as her song writing matures, a great mix of edge and smooth, pop-infused indie rock.
After seeing her sell out both of her shows in Toronto last year, it appears Courtney Barnett is riding high and getting the attention and accolades her talent and music deserve. I hope this playlist invites you into her rich discography, which continues to grow unabated in quality and energy.
Avant Gardener \ The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas (2013)
Elevator Operator \ Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015)
Pedestrian at Best \ Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015)
Dead Fox \ Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015)
Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party \ Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015)
Three Packs A Day \ non-album single (2016)
Over Everything \ Lotta Sea Lice (w/ Kurt Vile) (2017)
Let It Go \ Lotta Sea Lice (w/ Kurt Vile) (2017)
City Looks Pretty \ Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018)
Charity \ Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018)
Nameless, Faceless \ Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018)
Help Your Self \ Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018)
Sunday Roast \ Tell Me How You Really Feel (2018)
Small Talk \ non-album single (2018)
Everybody Here Hates You \ non-album single (2019)