Two up-and-coming acts shimmered their way through diverse sets of music at Union Transfer last night. Each recent Firefly performers, both groups are distinctly positioned for bigger things, and the sold out crowd on a Monday night was a testament to that. Continue reading →
It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Courtney Barnett, who went from a Melbourne musician with a couple of EPs to the toast of the indie singer-songwriter scene. Propelled by her wit and lyrical charm, perhaps best exhibited on the infectious “Avant Gardener” – the first single from her 2013 release A Sea of Split Peas – Barnett headlines Union Transfer for the second time tonight, and according to her recent interview with The Key’s Kate Bracaglia, will show off a few new songs from the album she’s releasing next year. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch a video of “Avant Gardener” performed live in the studio for World Cafe. Continue reading →
Courtney Barnett sometimes gets saddled with the “slacker” tag—she’s got this shaggy hair and these boxy tees, and these slow, shuffling bass lines that amble lazily across your eardrums, like maybe they had two beers and it’s a Saturday. Really though, she’s anything but—the Aussie crooner founded her own record label, Milk Records, while in her early 20’s; now, barely into her mid-20s, she’s emerged as somewhat of a workaholic, playing no less than 64 shows since I saw her last February, in addition to working on a new record.
“I don’t reckon you would know anything about me if I wasn’t moderately hard-working,” she once quipped.
Hard work probably got Courtney there a little sooner. But it’s her songwriting—and quirky, relatable lyrics—that did most of the heavy lifting. Continue reading →
Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett just played Firefly Music Festival, and if you missed it, you’re in luck since she just announced a return to Philly’s Union Transfer. She plays on Monday, October 20th, and tickets go on sale this Friday, June 27th Her last show at the venue was back in February, which sold out well in advance, even after being moved from the smaller Boot & Saddle. This time she returns with fellow Firefly artist San Fermin, a Brooklyn based Baroque Pop band. Check out the left-handed-guitar playing Aussie’s music video for “Avant Gardner” below.
The 3rd annual Firefly Music Festival is taking place this weekend at Dover, Delaware and we are there to capture all four days of live music. Last night, the festival opened with performances from Amos Lee, Local Natives, Courtney Barnett, Phosphorescent, Parade of Lights and more.
This year’s Firefly Music Festival has over 100 artists playing, and there’s no way for you to know them all. With the festival only three days away, you probably don’t have time to check out all the unfamiliar bands on the list. But that’s okay. That’s what we’re here for. We took a look at some of the best non-headliner acts playing the Dover, Delaware musical extravaganza and picked out ten performers you shouldn’t miss. Continue reading →
Fans of Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett can take her recent World Cafe session home with them, thanks to NoiseTrade. The session features a conversation with World Cafe host David Dye in between live performances of “Avant Gardener,” “History Eraser” and more. Stream and download the session below, and revisit Barnett’s Union Transfer appearance here.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Courtney Barnett was barely a blip on the American rock and roll radar when she played the College Music Journal (CMJ) conference in the Fall of 2013, but after a handful of positive reviews including this one by New York Times music critic Jon Pareles, music fans started to take notice. Barnett self-released her album, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, to fairly glowing reviews October, 2013 and since then she’s been signed to a label deal in the States (Mom + Pop), did a tour including a sold out show in Philadelphia at Union Transfer, played at Coachella, and is playing the Firefly Music Fstival on June 19th. The Australian rocker was featured recently on World Cafe in an interview and performance on April 11, 2014. You can listen to the entire session here. Below, download her World Cafe performance of “Lance Jr.” and watch her perform “Avant Gardener” in the cafe studios.
“This is officially the biggest crowd we’ve played for,” says Australian rocker Courtney Barnett with a grin, last night at Union Transfer. The crowd cheers enthusiastically. The show’s been sold out for weeks, after being moved from the much smaller Boot & Saddle, and those who actually snagged tickets are pumped.
But they’re not the only ones. Barnett too seems excited to play her first Philly show, on her first American tour, and seems to be taking her sudden success in stride. A 25-year-old Melbourne native, who burst into public consciousness last year when her double EP, A Sea of Split Peas, won rave reviews from the blogosphere and airplay on indie radio stations. Barnett went from Melbourne musician with a DIY label and a pair of self-released EPs—to an international “artist to watch,” whose witty lyrics and shaggy guitar lines have won the hearts and ears of thousands of listeners. Last night, Barnett proved the attention is well-warranted, as she crooned and raged through an hour-long set, drawn from A Sea of Split Peas and beyond.
Over the past decade or so, I’ve seen many buzz bands play Philly, “killing it” with their energy and passion. But I believe Courtney Barnett is special. Courtney Barnett doesn’t just write heavy, juicy guitar lines that wiggle their way into your brain and reverberate; she doesn’t just write breezy choruses that wash over you like sunlight. She writes songs that actually do these things, for sure…but also more. She writes with a wit that’s completely relatable yet somehow both scrappier and more elegant. She writes about the banal—doing laundry, or going to the grocery store—and she writes about the heartbreaking—broken relationships, aimless lovers who don’t or can’t listen. But mostly, she writes about things that are real—and manages—in the small, personal details—to tap into something universal.
Listening to Courtney Barnett on record, you get the sense that she’d be awesome to hang out with. Seeing her live, you are absolutely sure. To start, she looks like every awesome girl I know in South Philly, clad in black jeans, boots, and a boxy tee—and between sets, she jokes sheepishly about her fly being down (it wasn’t) and hums a few bars of a Triffids song at audience request. But mostly, she remains focused on the tunes, letting the music do the talking.
She kicks off her set with Bowie-inspired rocker “David,” bassist Bones Sloane’s bouncy bass grooves adding forward momentum, before transitioning to “Canned Tomatoes (Whole),” her guitar snarling as she softly croons the lyrics.
Beside and behind her, Sloane and drummer David Mundie (affectionately dubbed “The Courtney Barnetts”) provide tight, lively grooves, backing vocals, and plenty of swagger—especially on tunes like free-spirited anthem “Are You Looking After Yourself.” Singles “Avant Gardener” and “History Eraser” are easy crowd-pleasers, Barnett spitting out lyrics coolly—and “Lance Jr.” elicits some grins with its risqué opening lines. But the evening’s best surprise is a new tune: catchy, with a shuffle beat, and more of her trademark witticisms.
Barnett closes her set with a brief encore, playing another new tune called “Depreston” about the “very boring” town of Preston, Australia. (“If you’ve got a spare half-million, you could knock it down and start rebuilding,” she croons, always penetrating.) This might be her first Philly appearance, but I have a feeling it won’t be her last. Armed with a killer band, a palate of new ideas, and her very Courtney way of doing things…Courtney Barnett has all the goods to make it big. We’re excited to see what she comes up with next.