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Courtney Barnett: "I stay open to everything around me."

By Marc Zisman |

We met the young queen of indie rock to discuss her skilfully managed second studio album, her writing process and her musical obsessions of yesterday and today.

Courtney Barnett’s second studio album is as magnificent as it is simple. But not simplistic, no, just simple. The young Australian creates a rock’n’roll of an almost disarming purity and clarity. For the simple reason that the songs presented here are absolutely brilliant. Indeed, songs. That “detail” that can make or break an album… Just like the compilation of her first two EPs ( A Sea of Split Peas), her first album (Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit), and her duo album with Kurt Vile (Lotta Sea Lice), this Tell Me How You Really Feel strings together ten trips that perfectly blend cynical humour and sincere confession. Most importantly, Courtney Barnett appears more introspective than in years past.

And because things are firing on all cylinders for her, both in her career (with an impressive critical and popular success on the global stage) and personal life (she’s been sharing her life with her peer Jen Cloher for quite a long time now), it becomes clear that the Australian artist took her time to polish perfectly each of these ten compositions. Even more impressive as she combines well-worn themes (her loves, anxieties, frustrations and opinions) while never sounding cliché.

As per usual, Courtney Barnett wraps her prose in an impeccable indie rock on the guitar, that never feels overproduced. She’s been influenced by big names such as Lou Reed, Kurt Cobain, Neil Young and Jonathan Richman, including a collaboration on two tracks with the Deal sisters, Kim and Kelley, from The Breeders. What was Neil Young saying again on his famous Hey Hey, My My? Rock’n’roll can never die


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