Courtney Barnett – Dilettante, Los Angeles


Fine. I give. Bandwagon jumped on. Chorus joined. Your 2015 Rock and Roll Dream Come True is here in the form of Melbourne-based Courtney Barnett.

I had resisted writing about Ms. Barnett for the past few weeks as singles—truly outstanding, instantly arresting singles—from her upcoming album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit were released. I had nothing original to add to the already voluminous amount of praise heaped on her capable shoulders.

I, then, had the privilege of seeing her perform the entirety of Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit in concert during a pre-SXSW Los Angeles stop-over. Living in a media capital can have its occasional perks, so long as you overlook the desperation, glad-handing, and sheer number of juice bars.

The live experience pretty much solidified Courtney Barnett’s status as every sensitive indie rocker’s crush for the foreseeable future. The most remarkable feature of her music may be her lyrics, which are, at once, witty, emotionally insightful, and maybe even a bit existential. The sound, however, is essential rawk—guitar, bass, drums, and do you really need anything more to create the kind of sing-along catharsis you’re looking for in a band?

I had only wished that I had the entire album committed to memory as I think this is going to be your optimal Courtney Barnett experience. Give yourself a month of intimate headphone listening. Maybe over-identify at times—“yes, Courtney, I, too, am neurotic in a charming way when it comes to love and totally see the underlying sadness of otherwise mundane experiences like house-hunting.”

Then, and only then, do you go to the live show, where you can’t really make out all the lyrics due to fuzzed-out guitar, but it won’t matter. The lyrics have been etched on your tiny heart, and the rock, combined with Barnett’s on-stage assuredness, will lift you up.

I hope that is your experience anyway. Her comic-confessional lyrics and deadpan delivery immediately cut through the noise for me.

Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit will be released on March 23rd, and you’ll have ample opportunity to catch her stateside all spring and summer. Maybe you’ve heard of her already thanks to NPR, Pitchfork, or your Australian expatriate status, but if I’m the first to get you on board, then I’m doing something right.