Tag Archives: Courtney Barnett

cat_preview

Catch Lucy Dacus Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

October 18th, 2016

Singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus “has a voice that’s easy to warm up to. Her honeyed tones are comforting a soulful, closer to the jazzy pop of someone like Feist than the stream-of-consciousness sing-speak of Courtney Barnett,” according to American Songwriter. “It’s one of the Richmond, Va., singer-songwriter’s greatest strengths. Even when the subject matter is fraught with sadness or uncertainty, it’s never delivered in such a way as to set the listener on edge.” Her first studio album, No Burden (stream it below), came out earlier in the year before Matador Records reissued it late this past summer. Paste claims that she “challenges the little boxes everyone seems forced into at one time or another, exposing them for the weak material they’re built from. In the process, she’s created a debut record with an abundance of heart that should speak to anyone with a pulse of their own.” Dacus (above, performing “I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore” live in studio for Audiotree Live) kicks off a European tour on Friday, but you won’t have to travel far to see her tomorrow at Mercury Lounge. Brooklyn’s Bellows open the show.

cat_preview

Courtney Barnett Makes the Best of a Rainy Night

June 6th, 2016

Courtney Barnett – Rough Trade NYC – June 5, 2016

Courtney Barnett Gov Ball NYC Rough Trade 2016 by Pip Cowley Day 2-6285
I’m not sure if the proper expression to capture the mood inside the club on Sunday night involved clouds and silver linings or making lemonade out of lemons, but for the lucky (and the wet) who got in, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was a free Courtney Barnett show at Rough Trade NYC. After a severe rainstorm shut down Governors Ball, the show was one of several hastily arranged performances around town—no one inside had woken up that morning planning to be there. Still, unsurprisingly, the room was packed elbow to elbow and the steamy warmth of the crowd fueled chants of “Courtney!” as the lights finally went down.

The performance unintentionally served as a nice spot-check on a career that has exploded exponentially. Absent the massive stage of a larger club or the expansive audience of a festival set, Barnett’s charm and talent were right there for the grabbing. Opening with “Dead Fox,” accompanied by an animated video in full Technicolor flickering behind the trio, the band found a glorious sludge of guitar, bass and drums while the audience started to percolate. “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” began with an appropriately drowsy mood with a rock-out that somewhat unsuspectingly crept up on the crowd. It was a good template for many of her songs, like “Out of the Woodwork”—and the show overall, which balanced expert, phrase-twisting poetry with audience-bouncing rock and roll, each piece building on the previous. The set bounced between songs from her Sometimes I Sit and Think album and the older double EP, plus a few from neither, providing a nice capsule of the Courtney Barnett sound to date. “Depreston” elicited a full-volume sing-along, a sweaty mass of voices nearly drowning out the band’s, but the song somehow never lost its emotional oomph. Less familiar but equally powerful was their cover of the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie,” featured on the recent Day of the Dead. As visions of highway-driving tunnel vision filled the screen, the trio filtered the old hippie screed through the Barnett sound: an excellent too-cool stoner blues.

Like the songs contained within, the show built to a fist-pumping rage, the closing section highlighted by “the hits,” like “Avant Gardner” and “Pedestrian at Best.” The room somehow felt even more packed as the band and audience unleashed their full, pent-up, rain-delayed power. Barnett and Co. closed with “Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party,” which somehow perfectly, inversely captured the spirit of this special Sunday night show. She claimed it was one of their “favorite shows ever,” which kind of felt like a pickup line, but coming from Barnett, I think most in the room believed her. The encore started with a bit of off-the-cuff goofing, Barnett starting and stopping almost a dozen different classic-rock riffs (think: “Stairway to Heaven,” “Wish You Were Here,” Nirvana), the band hopping in almost perfectly each time, and most in the crowd smiling and laughing imagining how great it would be if they really played any of them. Maybe next rainout they will, but instead the audience made do with the fun finish of “Pickles from the Jar,” getting their last bit of dancing in, the proper expression here involving hay and sunshine. —A. Stein |@Neddyo   

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

cat_preview

Up-and-Comer Lucy Dacus Plays Rough Trade NYC Tomorrow Night

June 1st, 2016

Richmond, Va., singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus (above, performing “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” for Audiotree Live) has been getting a lot of love this year. In January, Rolling Stone labeled her a New Artist You Need to Know, adding that she “has a knack for writing disarmingly open indie rock songs, with plainspoken lyrics that hit even harder thanks to her soft, sturdy alto.” And that was before her debut full-length even arrived. No Burden (stream it below) came out in late February to a flood of praise. NPR proclaimed, “The power-pop songs are naturally rootsy, embodying an authentic Southern soul. Yet the 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s voice transcends her locale and her age, a confident blend of Sharon Van Etten’s aching power, Jenny Lewis’ cool drawl and Courtney Barnett’s bright wit.” While Pitchfork added, “Lead guitar lines pour in the like slow columns of sunlight, and Dacus’ voice itself is a comforting blur.” Find out what all the fuss is about when she plays Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night. Local favorite Sam Cohen opens.

cat_preview

Don’t Miss Blur Tomorrow Night at Madison Square Garden

October 22nd, 2015

Damon Albarn (vocals and guitar), Alex James (bass), Dave Rowntree (drums) and Graham Coxon (guitar and vocals) formed Blur in London back in 1988. And while they initially began with a swirling shoegaze sound, they launched themselves as one of the England’s most popular guitar-pop bands—gaining comparisons to the Who, the Kinks and the Jam—with a pair of highly acclaimed releases: Modern Life Is Rubbish (stream it below) in 1993 and Parklife (stream it below) in 1994. Not wanting to get pigeonholed with a specific sound, Blur (above, performing “Go Out” on Later … with Jools Holland) embraced lo-fi, indie tendencies on their eponymous album (stream it below), out in 1997, earning the band mainstream success in the U.S. They went on a bit of a hiatus in the new millennium, but they returned with their first studio album in 12 years when the hypnotic, moody The Magic Whip (stream it below) came out this past spring. And it seems like the time off was no problem as the new LP received nearly universal acclaim. According to Rolling Stone, “The band’s first album in more than a decade is a dark, seductive set that cements a legacy.” And furthermore, “Blur have returned with inspiration to spare.” See them play Madison Square Garden tomorrow night. And as an added bonus, fast-rising star Courtney Barnett, who seems to get better with each performance, opens the show.

cat_preview

Things Get Bigger for Courtney Barnett at Terminal 5

July 23rd, 2015

Courtney Barnett – Terminal 5 – July 22, 2015

Courtney Barnett – Terminal 5 – July 22, 2015
Courtney Barnett playing a sold out show at Terminal 5? Seems a bit sudden, doesn’t it? But, yes, Courtney Barnett played a sold-out show at Terminal 5(!) and dominated the grand space like it was inevitable all along. While she began the set small, playing the opening song solo in a spotlight as the full house soaked in every word, things soon grew to a size appropriate for the room and just seemed to get bigger and bigger as the performance progressed. The trio—Barnett on vocals and guitar, Bones Sloane on bass and backing vocals and Dave Mudie on drums—exploded with sound on “Lance Jr.,” drums, bass and guitar almost immediately reaching full ignition. It was clear why she calls her band CB3 as this is a threesome following in the grand tradition of great power trios, halfway between Nirvana and the Experience, stripped down onstage with just a few lonely amps, and playing with a ferocity and that je ne sais trois innate to the best. The crowd was certainly well familiar with the songs off Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, but working through the material last night, Barnett and her mates made them feel altogether brand new. These were the 3D IMAX versions, extrasensory and totally immersive.

The location-appropriate “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” featured a druggy tempo with a low-bass ooze as Barnett spun out her trademark lyrics—“Watching all the movies/ Drinking all the smoothies/ Swimming at the pool/ I’m thinking of you, too”—with charm and confidence while colorized images of the Williamsburg Bridge jittered on the screen behind her. Every song felt like a possible favorite and a potential sing-along. While the full-tilt rockers got the crowd loose and rowdy, the smoldering slow ones were the set’s highlights, keeping everyone rapt in her spell. “Small Poppies” was a revelation: slow-building each verse upon the next, Barnett howling “Eye for an eye for an eye …” while the rhythm section pushed things with a steady veteran skill, eventually making way for an intense spasm of a guitar jam with a hand-drawn monster literally lurking in the woods on the screen behind them.

“Depreston” served as a centerpiece for her skill of mixing the funny and the poignant, layering melodies and meanings within a single song that might have you alternating between smiling, crying and totally rocking out. There was scant banter between numbers, but little was needed with the songs’ conversational wit. What more is there to say when you’re already singing, “Everybody is somebody else’s somebody?” Besides, there was barely time to spare as the extended trio rock-outs ran up against curfew (Barnett quipping, “I thought this was the city that never sleeps!”). They blazed through the crowd-pleasing end of the show with high-energy versions of favorites “Avant Gardener” and “Pedestrian at Best,” Barnett taking a brief moment to appreciate the size of the venue and maybe the magnitude of the moment, before squeezing in a sing-along encore of “History Eraser.” Yeah, it was big, but it’s only getting bigger for CB3. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

(Courtney Barnett opens for Blur at Madison Square Garden on 10/23.)

cat_preview

Courtney Barnett Takes Over The Bowery Ballroom

May 20th, 2015

Courtney Barnett – The Bowery Ballroom – May 19, 2015

Courtney Barnett – The Bowery Ballroom – May 19, 2015
Aussie Courtney Barnett rocks a style that fits perfectly into New York City culture. Her quick-witted, matter-of-fact observations feature a naturally dry sense of humor, making just about every line she sings stand out for its brilliance. (Consider her the David Letterman of indie rock and roll.) So it makes sense that for her latest trip here, promoting her debut full-length album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, she’s all but taken over The Bowery Ballroom, easily selling out the venue for three nights in a row.

The first thing to note when seeing Courtney Barnett is that her backing band (the Courtney Barnetts) is incredibly tight, not something to be expected of a group carrying the banner for Barnett’s songwriting best known for its nonchalant observations. It’s a very unassuming kind of awesome, the kind that sneaks up on you as a song hits its bridge. “Small Poppies” crept its way into a scorching solo from Barnett worthy of burning down the venue. Contrast that to what she sang, in lines like “I used to hate myself but now I think I’m alright.” It’s brilliant. On “Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party,” Barnett’s repeated guitar riff hit so perfectly off the bass rhythm that it almost sounded like it was bouncing off its thud. The guitar solo carrying out “Avant Gardener” was stretched beyond the brilliance heard on its recorded version. Calling it now: There will never be a better song written about having an allergic reaction while gardening.

Last night’s set featured the NYC live debut of a song Barnett wrote on her first trip here—and overseas—as she described it, “A sad song I wrote to this groovy bit,” appropriately titled  “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York).” The high-water mark for emotional intensity came during “Kim’s Caravan.” On the repeated refrain, “So take what you want from me,” Barnett strained her voice to the point where it started to crack, like it was beginning to split open from the emotion of it. The night featured two covers, “Cannonball” by the Breeders, a perfect song for this band to master, and the Lemonheads’ “Being Around,” which she played by herself to kick off the encore. The latter cover compelled some to pull out their lighters, a lost concert cliché that was waiting to come back for a perfect moment like this. The set ended with “Pedestrian at Best,” with its refrain of “put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you.” To pluck that delicious low-hanging fruit and take this review to it’s inevitable conclusion: She’s not disappointing anyone. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

(Courtney Barnett plays Terminal 5 on 7/22.)

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Courtney Barnett on 5/21

May 19th, 2015

1

Still touring behind her highly acclaimed debut full-length, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett returns to New York City for three sold-out shows at The Bowery Ballroom tonight, tomorrow and on Thursday (plus she’ll be back later this summer to play Terminal 5 on 7/22). Each of those shows sold out well in advance but the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets to Thursday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Courtney Barnett, 5/21) and a brief message explaining the best way to spend a three-day weekend while staying in New York City. Eddie Bruiser, who will be doing just that, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

cat_reviews

Twerps and Ultimate Painting Provide a Friday Night of Laid-Back Rock

March 16th, 2015

Twerps – Rough Trade NYC – March 13, 2015

Twerps-01
It was a slacker’s paradise at Rough Trade NYC on Friday night, featuring a couple of bands with a laid-back style that suited the packed house just fine. Ultimate Painting took the penultimate slot playing with that breezy ’60s Brit sound that’s best suited to London bands. They opened with “Ultimate Painting,” their debut album’s title track, singing, “I don’t know what I’m thinking” and sounding as wonderfully can’t be bothered as a group that only managed to come up with one name for everything. The principals, Jack Cooper and James Hoare, tossed vocals and guitar riffs back and forth like playing some lazy afternoon tennis before tea. The melodies were perfectly matched to the vibe, easy to listen to and easy to love. Following a handful of keepers from the album, Ultimate Painting played a few new ones, including “It’s on You,” a slick bit of bluesy pop with some just-fancy-enough guitar interplay and the lyric “C’mon, man, you made me late,” nicely capturing the vibe. “Central Park Blues” was somewhere between contemporaries Parquet Courts and Courtney Barnett, with a slightly angrier vibe contrasting with a sweet guitar that painted a kind of stoner New York City. Their set closed with “Ten Street,” a thumping drumbeat paved the way for a wailing guitar excursion that went as deep as advertised before ending in exactly 10 minutes.

Ending the show, Twerps, from Melbourne, Australia, took the jangly, slacker vibe to the extreme. Marty Frawley and Julia McFarlane split the vocal duties, alternating on songs mostly about love and/or heartbreak like it’s the only thing worth singing about—sounding like they were singing along to themselves in the mirror. With delightful melodies and an almost platonic ideal indie-rock sound, there was much for the crowd to love. With Frawley and McFarlane providing double duty on the singing and guitar licks, the real hidden secret of their live set was Alex MacFarlane on drums. His rhythms and textures added a vital flavor to the sound, giving the effortless sound a much-needed zest, from the mallets on “I Don’t Mind” to the tambourine-heavy playing on “Shoulders.” The latter featured a nifty guitar riff and built to a climactic 15 seconds of angry bliss.

The set picked up a bit of steam midway through, McFarlane’s guitar finding new ways to perfectly highlight the lo-fi songs as the Friday night crowd loosened up to dance. Even the banter had a lackadaisical demeanor: Frawley commented on a band they had opened for that said the same thing every night in a bit of meta chatter, and then later he and McFarlane mentioned how they had a bit of an argument in a way that was unclear the matter had been fully resolved. Still, it was tough to imagine any of them getting too worked up on a night as chill and laid back as Friday proved to be. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

 

 

cat_reviews

Courtney Barnett and San Fermin Are a Winning Combination

October 21st, 2014

Courtney Barnett/San Fermin – Union Transfer – October 20, 2014

97-exxl

The rarely mentioned truth about live music is that it is, in essence, an exercise in predictability. From night to night, bands play the same songs with minor variations. The attitude of the crowds may influence things, but when a group plays their songs, they are working from a script, a set list of material, which, hopefully, they know well. Within that paradigm, where is the band’s enjoyment? What does the audience come to see and hear? How is live music a unique experience?

Listening to Courtney Barnett, you get the sense that whatever navel-gazing, highbrow thinking is imposed on her music, she will shrug it off and keep playing. As the lyric to her runaway radio hit, “Avant Gardender,” goes, “It’s a Monday/ It’s so mundane.” Mundane for her, maybe, but for the audience that came to see Barnett with coheadliner San Fermin last night at Union Transfer, the performance was extraordinary, necessarily so. It’s self-evident that everyone would feel something different, from the older couple sitting at the circular table wedged between the bar and a support beam to the many flannel-clad twentysomethings. As a member of the visual majority, I too could pick out the influence of the Dirty Projectors and the National on the intricate orchestral pop of San Fermin.

And in Barnett’s shrug-filled delivery, I even heard a little Dylan. But on Monday I wanted to lose myself in these performances, and for two mesmerizing hours, they offered just that, as routine magic. Midway through her set, Barnett asked, “How is everyone doing? Good, great or average?” You could take a poll, but we all know that the responses would differ. Barnett—and her band—and San Fermin are two well-paired acts, touring as a curveball-to-fastball one-two combination. It’s tricky and off-kilter, but I imagine that every night is slightly different and new. And when it comes to live music, that is what you hope for. —Jared Levy

 

 

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Courtney Barnett on 6/14

June 10th, 2014

1

Courtnery Barnett is a musician on the rise, and she’s coming our way for a couple of sold-out appearances, on Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg and on 6/17 at The Bowery Ballroom. And while each date is already sold out, The House List is giving away two tickets to Saturday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Courtney Barnett, 6/14) and a brief message explaining what you enjoy so much about Australian rock. Eddie Bruiser, a Neil Finn fan from way back, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

cat_preview

Courtney Barnett – Knitting Factory – February 22, 2014

February 24th, 2014

Courtney Barnett - Knitting Factory - February 22, 2014

Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici | petersenzamici.com