Courtney Barnett is a 25 year old Melbourne-based singer & guitar player & songwriter. In 2012 she started her own label, Milk! Records, and released her first EP I’ve Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris to glowing reviews around Australia. That quickly snowballed into International critical acclaim in 2013 with her second EP How To Carve A Carrot Into A Rose.
Lead single Avant Gardener tells the story of an anaphylactic panic-attack in the midst of an Australian heatwave, with lyrics like “The paramedic thinks I’m clever cos I play guitar, I think she’s clever cos she stops people dying.” Pitchfork was so enamoured with Avant Gardener that they named it a prestigious ‘Best New Track’.
Courtney has combined these two releases into one and called it The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas to be released internationally via House Anxiety/Marathon Artists. This collection collates her story so far and is a unique introduction to an incomparable and exciting new talent.
Along with Avant Gardener, selected highlights from the album include the gorgeous and woozy piano-strewn opener Out of the Woodwork, which showcases a darker side of her writing. Anonymous Club portrays Courtney at her most romantic and melancholic, while History Eraser is an infectious Dylan-esque cavalcade that was recently nominated (alongside Tame Impala) for the APRA Song Of The Year in Australia. And let’s not forget Lance Jr. which was the first song to catch people’s ears.
“The one thing that captivates me in a song is the honesty of a songwriter,” considers Courtney. “And that doesn’t mean it has to be deep, dark personal secrets, it just means it has to be honest. It could be about walking to the shop, but if it’s said with that person’s perspective then it can make it interesting.” It’s with this purist story-telling mantra that Courtney’s finding her listeners growing at a staggering rate.
UK here. CD here. Vinyl here.
“Barnett’s music builds on the wordy irreverence of mid-’60s Bob Dylan and a Byrds-ian blend of psychedelia, folk and country” – Mike Powell, Pitchfork
“Tales that unspool like barstool revelations and sound like some hybrid of Kimya Dawson and Kurt Cobain” - Rolling Stone
“Shows off a mind that’s racing at a hundred miles an hour” - NME
“What sets her apart is she’s got a sense of songwriting that hearkens back to the creative burst of the late ’60s. Specifically in California — her melodies and psychedelic harmonies remind me of the work of David Crosby or John Phillips” – Brooklyn Vegan
“This track is a perfect summary of the earnest freewheelin’ and rambling wit that makes music from this end of the world just so great” – The Guardian UK
“She’s like US “anti-folk” songwriters Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson, sighing off lyrics that couch their insights in fleeting thoughts and deadpan punchlines.” - Doug Wallen, Mess + Noise.