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The National and Courtney Barnett kick off their summer tour with a rowdy night at the Mann Center

The National | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN

The National and Courtney Barnett both delivered punchy sets of new and old material at the Mann Center on Tuesday night as The National kicked off a summer tour in support of their new album I Am Easy to Find. Barnett was unflappable in her power trio, and The National — sharing the stage with several new collaborators — showed the full spectrum of emotions they could evoke with the songs from I Am Easy to Find. Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett gets cerebral on the “Everybody Here Hates You” video

Courtney Barnett | still from video

Courtney Barnett released a pair of singles for Record Store Day this past weekend, which included the brand new song “Everybody Here Hates You.” The song is now available on streaming services, and it has a new video to go along with it. The Danny Cohen-directed video draws on the “it’s only in your head” line of the song by showing Barnett and her band performing onstage before taking us on a journey into the inner workings of the songwriter’s mind, pink brain walls and all. Watch below. Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett channels Jeff Buckley on “Everybody Here Hates You” for Record Store Day 7″

Courtney Barnett | photo by Mia Mala McDonals | courtesy of the artist

April 13 is the 12th annual Record Store Day, and Courtney Barnett just released a new song to mark the occasion. The brand new “Everybody Here Hates You” is out now digitally, and it’ll be released as a 7″ along with the previously shared single “Small Talk” this Saturday.

Barnett was reportedly listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley back when she was writing songs for her recent album Tell Me How You Really Feel, so if the new track’s title calls to mind Buckley’s “Everybody Here Wants You,” its probably not a coincidence. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The National will bring new album I Am Easy To Find to The Mann in June with Courtney Barnett

The National | photo by Graham MacIndoe | courtesy of the artist

The National announced a new album, I Am Easy To Find, which is set to be released on May 17th via 4AD. This is the group’s eighth studio album and it is bursting with featured vocalists, such as Sharon Van Etten, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tindle and more. In addition to the album, The National teamed up with Academy Award-nominated director Mike Mills (20th Century Women, Beginners) to produce a companion short film by the same name. The film stars Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander, and the trailer for both projects is out now. Continue reading →

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Firefly 2019’s lineup led by Panic! At The Disco, Travis Scott, Post Malone, with Courtney Barnett, Vampire Weekend, Hop Along on the undercard

from left, Panic! At The Disco | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN // Travis Scott | photo by Isaiah Spicer for WXPN // Post Malone | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

While Firefly‘s recently-announced 2019 lineup isn’t doing anything to improve the Dover, Delaware festival’s track record of booking overwelmingly male headliners, seeing psychedelic rap visionary Travis Scott take the big-font Saturday-night prime slot is indeed a silver lining, especially in the wake of his ridiculous ASTROWORLD tour stop at the Wells Fargo Center.

Scott is sandwiched between Friday’s appearance from pop punk dramatists Panic! At the Disco and Sunday’s closing set from hip-hop’s voice of suburban ennui, Post Malone, who admittedly has a few catchy songs in his playbook. But as the case is with most festivals of this scale, the true excitement at Firefly lies in its undercard. Continue reading →

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Need A Little Time: Courtney Barnett slays at The Fillmore

Courtney Barnett | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN

When Courtney Barnett first barged into the scene back in 2013 with The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, I was floored. I couldn’t get enough. The Modern Lovers-derived, cheeky lyric-infused catchy songs were addictive. Literally. For, like, two years straight I listened to Barnett’s music multiple times a week. It wasn’t healthy. I’d listen to the songs before I’d go to sleep because they were stuck in my head, but the infectious melodies would energize me to the point of not being able to fall asleep. I was not a morning person.

But it was too much. I got burned out. Too much of the same music can do that to you, and if you really overdo it, it will ruin the music for you permanently. This happened to me with Billy Joel. It’s not that Billy Joel writes bad music, it’s just that I heard it too much. Nowadays, whenever the sound of Billy Joel is emitted from the intercom of a CVS I happen to be shopping in, I have to quell my oncoming apoplexy and refocus my attention on which overpriced toothpaste I’ll buy this time.

I started to feel this condition setting in with Courtney Barnett. As a result, I effectively went on a Courtney Barnett hiatus. When she came to Union Transfer last time around, I didn’t even go. I could sense myself getting worn out.

Fast forward to this year’s NonCOMM. Courtney Barnett was on the bill, and I wasn’t even excited about it. I was stoked to see Starcrawler and Jeff Rosenstock, but Courtney Barnett was an afterthought. I went to Barnett’s performance anyway, figuring I had nothing better to do. The energy in her set was palpable. The new songs were still catchy and witty, but a bit more structured that the stuff from the Split Peas era. Instantly, the hiatus had ended. I was re-obsessed and committed myself to seeing her upcoming show at the Fillmore in October. Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett returns with a chatty single “Small Talk”

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

Courtney Barnett released her latest album Tell Me How You Really Fell just last May, and already she’s back with a new track. “Small Talk” is Barnett’s addition to indie NY label Mom + Pop’s 10th anniversary compilation.

The song is warm with a nuzzling familiarity, the toasty heat of a crowded kitchen, a friend’s arm slung around your shoulders. Barnett captures the strained obligation of small talk at a family gathering, the lengthy gaps of time to fill, the buzz of muddled and meaningless conversation. Continue reading →

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Explore Toronto with Courtney Barnett in the new “Charity” video

still from video

Melbourne rocker Courtney Barnett spent two days in Toronto last month, headlining the Danforth Music Hall both nights, and she totally maximized her time there, as we see in her new music video for “Charity.”

Intercut alongside soundcheck and gig footage, we see Barnett and her band making their way around Toronto. They record an interview on local alternative radio beacon Indie88, then recorded a couple acoustic songs for the station’s Stiegl Hidden Studios Sessions. They also spend some time in Harbour Square Park, with Lake Ontario in the distance, jamming around and inside John Fung and Paul Figueiredo’s Sundial Folly sculpture.

Filmed by Ashley Connor on 16mm Kodak film, it captures the scenes and the city in warm lights and rich color; watch “Charity” below. Continue reading →