The two most popular words on the lips of every South by Southwest attendee this year were, “Free tacos?” But if you discount food, then the answer would be “Courtney Barnett,” an Australian singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was everywhere during the festival. She played more than five gigs in less than a week, including showcases for Spin, NPR, and Tumblr, and she’s about to hit the road again, traveling to the UK, Germany, and her native Australia before returning to the United States in May. She’ll be literally everywhere.
Assuming, that is, that you don’t already listen to college rock radio, in which case you’ve been aware of Barnett for a while. In 2013, Barnett combined her first two heralded EPs into The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, which had a minor hit in “History Eraser.” It’s a good introduction to her sound: witty, stream of consciousness lyrics; disaffected, accented vocals; fuzzy guitars. It’s smart music that doesn’t try to prove its intelligence. The same’s true of her new album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, a title that, along with “Debbie Downer” and “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party,” sums up her deadpan humor and musical personality.
Put Courtney Barnett’s new album on a pedestal. Like free tacos, it won’t disappoint you.