There’s an impossible buzz around Courtney Barnett. First things first — she doesn’t sound like anyone else in mainstream music right now. The Melbourne native makes addictively boisterous, rambling rock with storytelling skills that teeter on the nonsensical and the way too real.
Secondly, the accolades aren’t bad: Barnett’s 2015 debut studio album, “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit,” earned her a Best New Artist nomination at this year’s Grammy Awards, as well as eight nominations including Album of the Year from her native Australia’s ARIA Music Awards. Rolling Stone deemed her single “Pedestrian at Best” number four on their 50 best songs of 2015, calling the chorus one “that your favorite Nineties alt band would have eaten its Doc Martens to have written.”
Barnett was invited to “Saturday Night Live” last weekend to perform for the season 41 finale hosted by fellow rocker Fred Armisen, before a gig at Alabama’s increasingly popular, beachfront Hangout Music Festival. She calls during a rare moment of downtime between gigs and a Saturday spot at Boston Calling in City Hall Plaza, June’s Governors Ball and Mountain Jam and a packed European July.
What was performing at “Saturday Night Live” like?
I don’t think I ate for six days. I get like that when I’m nervous. I admire those comedians and the [finale] was extra crazy because there was Larry David and Maya Rudolph. I look up to them. Then we flew out the next morning to play a festival on the Gulf Shore of Alabama.
What’s the difference in playing for a festival crowd versus a normal gig?
It’s cool, nice change. It’s different because you’ve been asked to perform outdoors, so everyone is in a good mood when they’re in the actual world and the sun’s on them. Well, as long as it’s not raining.
Your schedule seems so intense this summer — what are you doing to keep your energy and spirits levels up?
I’ve just started walking around a lot. I know that sounds so obvious, but I think it’s important to remember to exercise. I realized I get into that habit where you lay down and watch TV, go to a gig, get drunk and then repeat. It’s important to force yourself to get up, walk around and see the city that you’re in. I like going to markets and listening to people jabber on and see how different places work.
Which city has the best people watching?
New York has so much going on that you’re bound to find something interesting, but I like somewhere like Paris, because it has its own language and [unless you understand it], you’re in the dark.