Returning with ‘Nameless, Faceless,’ - the first slice of forthcoming second album ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ - the first thing that strikes you about Courtney Barnett is the scope she’s gained since her debut. While ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I just Sit’ turned out and perfectly articulated the many sides of personal introversion and anxiety, along with artfully rendered, minuscule details from everyday life; peeling paint, Vegemite crumbs, and Swanson commuters, Barnett’s latest seems to see her taking on the anxieties of the world at large instead.
Paraphrasing a quote from The Handmaids’ Tale author Margaret Atwood in the chorus - “Men are scared that women will laugh at them… women are scared that men will kill them” - mock-pitying keyboard warriors (“I wish that someone could hug you,” she jokes) and parodying the image of somebody mansplaining using a bowl of alphabet soup, she’s still armed with the wit of her first record, but takes a different approach. The surprise success of her debut has clearly emboldened the Melbourne musician no end; as she told GQ in an interview this week, “Now I feel like I’m allowed to say what I want.”
Many people listening to ‘Nameless, Faceless’ will identify with the absurd and saddening reality of walking through quiet patches of town with keys poised between your knuckles - just in case - just as sending a customary “home safe” text after a night out with mates will be a second nature reflex. Hearing Courtney Barnett take on the patently political, then - with the gigantic riffs and untamed anger to match - feels like a vital move forward.
Records & Merch
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She’s hits the road in October.
Courtney Barnett, Animal Collective, Faye Webster and more to play London’s Pitchfork Music Festival
Big Joanie, Girlpool, and Michelle are also among the names announced.
The War On Drugs and Courtney Barnett are also on board for the pair of shows.
She’ll be joined by Sleater-Kinney, Waxahatchee, Alvvays, Lucy Dacus, Snail Mail and many more across the dates.