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Courtney Barnett Rough Trade East, London
Article written by
Ged M - Mar 30, 2015
It’s always a good sign when an artist is so immersed in what they’re doing that they lose track of their set order. The last notes of ‘Pedestrian At Best’ are just fading away when Courtney admits that this should have been their last song but she forgot to announce it beforehand, so she’ll take requests for a final track. Having just showcased songs from Sometimes I Just Sit And Think…, which is the reason for this instore, the band has no more of the new songs worked up so they fall back on the mighty ‘Avant Gardener’, which has an even stronger Velvet Underground rock pulse than ever. While this is a great song and a massive favourite with the crowd, the other songs aren’t overshadowed in its company; what’s amazing is how great they all sound even after hardly any time to get used to them (in fact, the live versions seem to have even more of a grungy bite than the recorded forms).
‘Elevator Operator’, ‘Dead Fox’ - with its warning chorus lifted from driving behind no end of trucks - and the gorgeous ‘Depreston’ are all impressive. The songs can be grungy but they’re not slacker-rock when they’re put together with such careful precision while the lyrics turn everyday life into prose-poems, in the same vein as Jeffrey Lewis and, particularly, fellow Aussie Darren Hanlon. Her last appearance at Rough Trade East was the busiest I’ve ever seen the shop, and this one is pretty close to rammed too; after hearing the new record, she’ll only become even more popular, and for good reason.