Single Review – Courtney Barnett – City Looks Pretty

Melbourne singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett made a name for herself with her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit from 2015. It received deserved acclaim for injecting new life into more traditional guitar music and a lot of that was to do with her dazed, down to earth delivery as opposed to being something it couldn’t. Her new album Tell Me How You Really Feel is due on May 18th and will most likely see Courtney reinforce her approach for now. Her latest single ‘City Looks Pretty’ certainly indicates such an approach with jangling riffs met with distorted lead elements. The lyrics still invoke a detailed personal narrative, but along with the arrangement, they seem smoother in their progressions and transitions making for an all round slicker song. This is shown well when the song fades into and out of a subtle organ based interlude towards its conclusion. It seems hard to see her making a more impactful album than her debut, but if anything Courtney will show that she already sounds like a well established artist.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile – Over Everything

Some people seem made for each other and as far as creating lovable indie-grunge goes Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile seem to be utterly imperfectly-perfect. The first single from the newly founded duo ‘Over Everything’ has to be the most endearing dead-pan, story-telling, rough around the edges single out for a while. Wonderfully steady and in that unmistakable Barnett stream of conscious style, the track and it’s accompanying black-and-white video- showing Barnett and Kurt lip-syncing each other’s lines in different locations, as they sit on their amps strumming their Fender guitars amongst trees and next to abandoned highways – seems to be the perfect interpretation of the duos partnership. A calming distraction from the stresses of your day but with an enchanting air of mischief; ‘You could almost forget ’bout all the other things, like a big old ominous cloud in my periphery.’ The pairs forthcoming LP ‘Lotta Sea Lice’ set for release October 13th via Matador promises to be heartwarmingly captivating.  

Hayley Miller

This Weeks Music Video with Courtney Barnett, Francis and the Lights feat. Bon Iver and Kanye West, Wild Beasts, Crystal Castles, Death Grips and Chvrches feat. Hayley Williams




https://youtu.be/B9BLMNn0PrQ

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Song-writing of 2015

Here is a list of the ten nominees for best song-writing of 2015.

 

3. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit (18%)

With her dry wit and her ability to translate a story into a song with tracks such as ‘Depreston’ and ‘Elevator Operator’ to name just two examples, Courtney has shown how good a songwriter she is. She can also craft songs overflowing with lyrical content and delivered with the intensity of ‘Pedestrian at Best’. It was her song-writing that was the undoubted strength behind her debut album and albums to come.

 

2. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (20%)

Joshua Tillman is a wonderful enigma and it is gloriously demonstrated in his song-writing. He was able to fit a satire of an entire nation into a simple piano ballad with ‘Bored in the USA’ and made it beautifully tragic at the same time. In his second album as Father John Misty, he has conveyed Comedy, Tragedy, Love and sly Political Commentary amongst other things. He could seemingly take any topic and make it his own.

 

  1. Kendrick Lamar with Thundercat and Terrace Martin – To Pimp A Butterfly (

If you need to find out about the state of America and Modern Rap Music in 2015 then simply listen To Pimp A Butterfly for it will tell you all you need to know. Kendrick has brought Rap back to the sharp end of relevance and meaning and his tracks ooze Justifiable anger, frustration, observations, but also hope and respect. He includes self reflection, Racist Attitudes in America and the Motives of many of his fellow Rappers and Hip Hop artists. This album says so much simultaneously in a brutally honest and truthful fashion. Thundercat and Terrace Martin deserve an honourable mention for assisting Lamar more frequently than others too, but Kendrick Lamar has reinvigorated himself and an entire genre here.

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Newcomer of 2015

We’re starting 2016 by looking back at the year before and giving credit where its due. We’re doing so through a set of seven “very prestigious” awards and winners have been made from nominees through the votes of the Musicandotherthingz team, it’s partners and friends. We commence the awards with the best newcomer category.

Listen to the full list of nominees here

 

3. Tobias Jesso Jr. (16%)

Tobias Jesso Jr.jpeg

Canadian, Tobias Jesso Jr. released his debut album Goon back in March and with it he showcased a mature songwriting ability through his simple arrangements akin to the style of many a singer-songwriter in the 1970s.

 

2.Wolf Alice (24%)

The Quartet from North London are led by Ellie Roswell and offer up a subtle blend of Alternative, Grunge and Indie in their sound. They had built up quite a reputation throughout 2013 and 14 and this set them in good stead for their debut album My Love is Cool which was released in June. They have since been nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. Not bad for a debut year.

 

  1. Courtney Barnett (28%)

Melbourne based Courtney Barnett has been a revelation for many with her witty songwriting and her passive delivery set around some unrefined Alternative sounds. She was a deserving big winner at Australia’s ARIA Awards picking up four awards from eight nominations and has been nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy too. Expect to see and hear much more from Courtney in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week’s Music Video with New Order, Courtney Barnett, Ash, Karen O and Beirut

Glastonbury 2015 – Who To Catch Up On

If you were busy this weekend and didn’t feel like being surrounded by the mud, the Tories or the wannabes at Glastonbury, then here’s a small guide about which acts you should catch up on…

Lionel and Pharrell spread the joy

The Soul and Pop legend that is Lionel Richie attracted the biggest crowd of the festival with over 100,000 moving to tracks like ‘dancing on the ceiling’ with thousands all decked out in what was the most popular merchandise of the festival. It’s almost like they missed a trick not making him a headline act given his reception. Similarly Pharrell got the crowd going in an enthusiastic fashion and both provided the simple feel-good factor.

Ronson and friends provide the funk

Mark Ronson went all out in his efforts to wow the audience with his set. He did just about played and tampered with everything available and rolled out a varied list of artists to give him a hand from Kevin Parker, Kyle Falconer, Boy George, Grandmaster Flash, George Clinton and Mary J. Blige to name a few! Outstanding effort from Ronson to give the audience more than their money’s worth.

Florence Substitutes

Florence + The Machine delivered a high energy performance verging on the insane as she belted out her simple yet sophisticated catalogue of music and paid tribute to the missing Foo Fighters with her own rendition of ‘Times Like These’. The fact she’s back to number one in the album charts should tell you all you need to know about the impact of her performance.

Reliably Amazing acts deliver again

Future Islands rocked out another fine performance, despite feeling the fatigue slightly in what has been a non-stop year and a half for the band. Samuel Herring still amazed and frightened the life out of people with his now trademark stylish aggression, passion and ridiculous dance moves. In a similar but wonderfully sleazy way, Father John Misty thrust and launched himself just about everywhere, but delivered every track at album level quality. ‘Bored in the USA’ was just as theatrically trashy and even unnerving as you’d expect and was a sight to behold. Meanwhile, Courtney Barnett made herself feel at home at the Pyramid Stage of all places whilst effortlessly and breezily rolling through set in her typical laid back style. Glastonbury veterans delivered their set as if it was 1993 again and even stole a lot of the crowd away from Kanye’s headline act. The Who rolled out a hit feast for the fans and delivered also delivered a performance like their famous seventies gigs, but at a slower pace, still worth seeing despite their advancing years.

Kanye…

He was causing controversy before and after the his headline slot with many signing petitions to get him removed, but he was there in defiance and the opening stages of his set delivered some of his biggest tracks and was almost space age in it’s opening and set up for his ego with him and the lights on him. As simple as that. It worked wonderfully as a statement, but for the whole show it’s novelty wore away and he really should have took a leaf out of Ronson’s book for the middle and latter stages of his set. Not even Kanye can do everything on his own. The fact he claimed he was the biggest rockstar in the world is of no concern to me… it’s that sort of musical conservatism that stifles music and similarly threatened to stifle the festival, but Kanye was always going to be there and divided the majority of the audience straight down the middle. The Libertines were also left high and dry by being moved up the billing thanks to the Foo Fighters absence and their disjointed and worn set did nothing to get anyone shouting.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

This Week’s Music Video with Mark Ronson, Giorgio Moroder, Röyksopp, Courtney Barnett and Everything Everything

This Week’s Music Video with Caribou, Courtney Barnett, Ariel Pink and Owen Pallett

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit Review

Melbourne based Courtney Barnett has been knocking out extended plays and singles for a couple of years now to a very positive reception. It’s only a bit of loose, rambling indie rock, but whilst the music isn’t electrifying she usually is. She’s always on point with her vocals and witty, narrative, and observational lyrics that fit snuggly into clever song structures that make the music more fresh and engaging. The test is whether she can deliver this with the a brand new set of songs that make up her debut LP Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit for which she says “follow me as a normal human with normal emotions.” Sure it’s not an oversell, but like Courtney herself, the album looks to be loudly understated.

‘Pedestrian at Best’ features that slack and grinding rhythm section and heavy percussion that has tearing lead riffs slicing their way across the track’s mainstay instrumentals. Through this is Barnett’s megaphone-like vocal that shouts out her meandering and wondering lyrics that are packed into each guitar part. It’s angsty and angry with a witty and comic tinge. Alongside that it’s catchy and engaging. She hasn’t let herself follow the indie crowd with her style, even if it’s musically nothing new. She’s forced the track to go in her direction regardless of the style she’s pursued and it makes it sound fresh and individualistic. ‘Depreston’ is the opposite of the previous single and is more gentle with it’s echoed, lapping riffs and brushed percussion. This is combined with Barnett’s closer, intimate vocals that add a greater warmth to the track as well as giving a different emotional connection with the lyrics in what is a more narrative track. It adds that most basic depth and scale to the feel of the album too which is never a bad thing.

‘Elevator Operator’ has more of a 60’s jive about it with it’s snappy percussion, handclaps and bursting organ chords that intercept them. This infectiously catchy track is strung together with a light riff with the percussion taking the lead in effect. There’s also some a clever propulsion from verse to chorus with a instant hook attached to it. Again her storytelling ability doesn’t get in the way of the appealing and easy music and in many cases the musical simplicity allows for focus upon that and opens the door for some rapid and reworked song structures. This is the key to the album ‘An Illustration of Loneliness’ offers up a different musical approach with more fuzzy, vibrating guitars and a rumbling bass line from which her lazed, wistful vocals drift in-between. These tracks are the four cornerstones of the album’s sound and there isn’t a dull moment to be found throughout the entire album for it is full of vibrancy and energy but it’s not delivered in the predictable fashion many have come to expect from upcoming artists, even in those 90’s leaning tracks in the album. A more than solid debut.

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit = 8/10