Courtney Barnett: Unguarded ‘Gardener’

Courtney Barnett plays Union Transfer in Philly on  Thursday, Feb. 20, Mercury Lounge in NYC on Friday, Feb. 21 and the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Courtney Barnett plays Union Transfer in Philly on Thursday, Feb. 20, Mercury Lounge in NYC on Friday, Feb. 21 and the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Last year was Courtney Barnett’s first time out of her native Australia besides two trips to New Zealand, and it went exactly the way it was supposed to. At the CMJ music festival in New York, the 24-year-old singer/songwriter’s unapologetic tunes garnered the attention of high-profile media outlets and scores of new followers alike.

“[CMJ] was cool because it’s kind of a mix of industry people, which is always a bit weird, but there’s an awesome off-the-street kind of crowd of music lovers, so it was fun playing to them and just talking to people afterwards,” she says. “Some of them had heard of us and some hadn’t. Well, most hadn’t, so, it’s good.”

Though she claims to have a shy, quiet nature, any and all trace of that melts away on stage, where she performs as though there’s nowhere else she could be more at ease. She’s like Lena Dunham in music-form, but with the short story skills of someone like Miranda July. From under shaggy brunette bangs her lyrics come like a lazy challenge: “I sleep in late / Another day / Oh what a wonder / Oh what a waste. / It’s a Monday / It’s so mundane / What exciting things / Will happen today?” Those are the first lines of her breakout hit, “Avant Gardener,” from “The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas,” set to release in North America April 15 via Mom+Pop.

A few tracks later, on “Are you Looking After Yourself?” she sings, “I don’t know what I was thinking, I should get a job / I don’t know what I was drinking, I should get a dog / Should get married, have some babies, watch the evening news,” and echoes the private, innermost thoughts of her entire generation.

Her maiden voyage now over, Barnett is making her way back through a slew of sold-out shows in the States before a gig supporting Billy Bragg on his Australian tour, which kicks off in March.

“Going from not even having ever traveled and just assuming I would never travel, I just assumed that no one would ever hear my music outside of Melbourne,” she says. “Every time it grows a little bit more, it gets a bit more surreal.”

A self-proclaimed compulsive note-keeper, Barnett draws on real life experiences for inspiration for her music. “Avant Gardener” chronicles a seemingly innocuous attempt at gardening that ends in an ambulance ride: “It was just an anxiety attack or something I think, and we didn’t know if it was like an allergy on top of it because I got this weird rash and then I stopped breathing,” she says. “Just after it happened I went and stayed in the country for two weeks and did heaps of writing and stuff and that’s when I wrote it, but we’d already written the music. It was weird, it was back-to-front. It kind of happened all separately, and then I kind of figured out how the words went with the music.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.