Courtney Barnett’s music might not immediately grab you. Instead, it slowly works its way into your memory with patient, simple melodies and incisive lyrics. Caught somewhere between Byrds-ian jangle and Kurt Cobain’s dark humor, the young Melbourne, Australia singer-songwriter writes songs that ramble and breathe; her singing often sounds more like a loose conversation than a go-for-broke rock star moment.
Barnett got her start with a small, self-funded label called Milk! Records in 2012, which she used to release her own music and albums by her friends. It became a self-contained universe, just a fun distraction from day-to-day monotony. But soon Barnett’s own chronicling of that monotony started catching ears. The slacker charm of songs like “Avant Gardener” have an immediate appeal, thanks to Barnett’s easy-going band (hilariously dubbed Courtney Barnett & The Courtney Barnetts) and her deadpan sense of humor. Last fall, she packaged her two EPs together as The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas and picked up raves from Pitchfork and Rolling Stone.
The EP/album/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is getting a wider re-release this week thanks to Mom + Pop Records. In an interview with Pitchfork, Barnett admits The Double EP was a little more slapdash than your average record. “An album is a thing you take time out and go work on,” she says. “I can’t wait to make an album. I’ve got a bunch of songs half-ready to go, and I might start on it early next year.” Self-deprecating humor aside, Barnett has already made a name for herself, with both slowly-unfolding epics and short, electrified bursts. “David” finds her fronting a bluesy rock band just as easily, delivering killer lines like “I don’t really like any of your friends, but it’s not that hard for me to pretend.”