I think it would be completely wonderful if the girl next door also was a kickass songwriter and entertaining pop performer. That isn't to say anything bad about the women who live in the houses on either side and across the street from me. Mollie, Cheryl and Greta all have their good points. But none of them are Courtney Barnett. And what, you ask, is so special about Courtney Barnett? These days, I'm thinking the answer is just about everything. Imagine early Liz Phair vocals telling stories of suburban Melbourne with a conversational vibe born of equal parts Jonathan Richman and Robert Zimmerman. But it may be best if I let Courtney hook you in with her song "Avant Gardner", a woozy, dream-like story of an unemployed narrator suffering an anaphylaxis induced panic-attack while trying her hand at gardening during a heat wave. You can stream it and/or watch the video (the video may not have much to do with the song, but it may be the funniest tennis match you've seen).
Courtney's songs are collected on The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. It is billed as a double EP rather than an LP, because it includes six new songs followed by six songs from a previous EP. But for most of us just learning about Courtney, it doesn't really matter whether the record is called an LP or double EP. The mix of lo-fi psychedelia, and singer-songwriter is entertaining, compelling and, in my opinion, addictive. It carries echoes of the US folk rock of the '60s and '70s, such as Dylan, Jackson Browne and Laurel Canyon, but at the end of the day it all sounds like Courtney. Part of that is Courtney's engaging, distinctive delivery. But a large part is that this young lady is a really good songwriter. I won't be surprised to find this album ... um ... double EP ... on my top 20 list at the end of the year.
"History Eraser" was nominated for the APRA Song Of The Year in Australia -
The buzz for this young lady is growing, and she is in New York now for CMJ Music Marathon, and then she has a couple of European shows scheduled. Get the album, see her live, and follow her career. If you don't, I'll be able to say I told you so. And I will. Yes, I will.
The EPs comprising A Sea of Split Peas are available from Courtney's Milk Records, and the double EP is available worldwide via House Anxiety/Marathon Artists.
Album order page