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Courtney Barnett debuts her new album, jams with Kurt Vile in epic Union Transfer show

Courtney Barnett | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

Courtney Barnett played a lively, jam-packed 90-minute set on Wednesday night to a sold out Union Transfer, showcasing her entire new album Tell Me How You Really Feel, as well as older hits like “Avant Gardener” and “Pedestrian at Best,” and a surprise guest performance with Philadelphia native Kurt Vile.

Barnett is on the last leg of their mini US tour with Bones Sloane on bass, Katie Harkin leading on guitar and keys, and drummer Dave Mudie, debuting her new album, out Friday on Barnett’s Milk! Records, Mom + Pop and Marathon Artists.

Barnett started their Philly set with Hopefulessness, and quickly after said, “We’re gonna play our new album. It comes out tomorrow, I think? What day of the week is it?”, with her classic bed-head charm. The band played an energetic “City Looks Pretty,” “Charity,” and “Nameless, Faceless,” along with more subdued songs from the album like “Need A Little Time,” and “Sunday Roast.” Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Courtney Barnett gives the Free At Noon crowd a taste of what’s to come

Courtney Barnett | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Australian singer, songwriter and all around force of nature Courtney Barnett will release her highly anticipated new record Tell Me How You Really Feel this Friday, and she’ll headline Union Transfer tonight, but before all that, she stopped by NonCOMM to give us a preview of what’s to come.

Barnett’s appearance this afternoon was a long time coming for many in the audience — she was in Philadelphia last fall touring behind her collaborative project with Kurt Vile, and again to play guitar in her partner Jen Cloher’s band, but this is the first time we’ve seen her play solo material since the last album cycle (which included an appearance at #XPNFest 2015). For both die-hard Barnett fans and those of us who have been waiting for ages to see her (uh, me), today’s incredibly dynamic performance met, exceeded, and blew away any and all expectations.

Performing in trio form, Barnett and band delivered a fast-paced and powerful eight-song set to the midday crowd, alternating between the forthcoming record’s singles, brand new soon-to-be-released songs and some older favorites off 2015’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Barnett is a musician so essential to XPN listeners that sometimes it’s easy to forget she came from all the way across the world to perform here; when the band opened with Tell Me How You Really Feel track “City Looks Pretty,” it seemed that Barnett could easily have been singing about Philadelphia. Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett releases instructional video for new single, “Sunday Roast”

Courtney Barnett | still from video

Courtney Barnett’s latest video opens like many YouTube tutorial videos may open. “Hey guys, its me, Courtney Barnett. Today I’m going to show you how to play ‘Sunday Roast,’” Barnett says, greeting the viewers on the other side of the screen. The instructional video doubles as Barnett’s latest single release off her upcoming album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, out May 18.

The video features Barnett sitting on a futon strumming along to the track, flanked by two figures cropped out of the frame. Close-up shots of Barnett playing the guitar float across the screen throughout the 4-minute video, instructing viewers on how to play along at home.  Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett unpacks ideas of home in her new single “City Looks Pretty”

Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist

The forthcoming Courtney Barnett album (just four weeks away!) is steadily shaping up to be pretty incredible. We’ve heard two singles, “Nameless, Faceless” and “Need A Little Time,” and now Barnett has a third. Called “City Looks Pretty,” it’s a soft and catchy, starting off fast-paced and frantic, and slowing down to a calming lull midway through. It’s also a bracingly honest exploration of how we define home, and how relationships can be strained when you’re not always present in one place. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Waxahatchee will open for Courtney Barnett this October

Waxahatchee at Union Transfer | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Just announced as opening support for Courtney Barnett’s Fall run of U.S. shows is local-favorite Waxahatchee, which includes a stop at Fishtown’s Fillmore on October 23. The announcement comes the day after Waxahatchee rocked Union Transfer, and we couldn’t be more excited for the pair of rockers’ show in October. Check back in to The Key later this afternoon for our recap of Waxahatchee’s set at last night’s co-headlining gig alongside Hurray For The Riff Raff. Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett trades a dystopian reality for the cosmos in the new “Need A Little Time” video

Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist
Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist

The dystopian fantasy world depicted in Courtney Barnett‘s video for new single “Need A Little Time” doesn’t look anything like our world, but it’s just as strange and unwelcoming as real life can often be. So, it’s no surprise that Barnett would want to escape this reality to float through space, playing her guitar among the stars. Continue reading →

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Watch Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile star in a doc about the Loew’s Jersey Theater

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | nataliepiserchio.com

The Loew’s Jersey Theatre is a vintage movie palace that is seeing new life after almost 90 years. It opened in 1929 in Jersey City and, like many theaters of its kind, fell into disrepair in the 70s as moviegoing trended towards the homogeneous corporate multiplex space we know today. Thankfully, the Loew’s has a community around it dedicated to refurbishing it and making it into an arts space for a new century, hosting film screenings, theater and live music — including a stop on Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile‘s Lotta Sea Lice tour.

That concert is the setting for a documentary produced by WeTransfer and released today on YouTube showcasing the gig, yes, but also the people behind the scenes that make the theater work. We meet Paul Citti, a dapper organist who coaxes massive, eerie sounds out of the theater’s pipe organ. (Vile gets a lesson from him after soundcheck, and applauds with a huge smile after hearing some unearthly horror score tones.)  We meet Pattie Gordan, president of restoration group Friends of the Loew’s, and promoter Todd Abramson, who’s been bringing indie rock to the Loew’s stage since booking a Bright Eyes show in the early aughts. And we meet Dave Vanderheyden, the venue’s sound engineer who chats with the film crew while soldering an imposing section of an old analog mixing console.

And at the center, of course, is Barnett and Vile.  Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Courtney Barnett covers INXS, Laura Veirs sings with Sufjan Stevens, Chris Cornell’s voice appears on a Johnny Cash tribute

Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist
Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist

It’s a terrific Tuesday of new music including Courtney Barnett’s cover of the INXS classic “Never Tear Us Apart”; Chris Cornell’s contribution to a Johnny Cash tribute album, and Laura Veirs’ new song featuring vocals from Sufjan Stevens. Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett is releasing a new album, playing Union Transfer, being generally awesome

Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist
Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist

Okay, so about that mysterious news from the awesome Courtney Barnett? It’s exactly what we suspected, and it is good news indeed.

There’s a new album coming out. It’s called Tell Me How You Really Feel. It’s got a wicked lead single called “Nameless, Faceless,” a total F the patriarchy jam about power, inequality, internet trolls and objectification set to hard-hitting riffs; the chorus incorporates the Margaret Atwood quote, “Men are scared that women will laugh at them, women are scared that men will kill them.” There’s a video for the song by Lucy Dyson, and you can watch it below. The album comes out May 18th through Mom + Pop, and you can pre-order it hereContinue reading →