The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Hopefully – COURTNEY BARNETT: Tell me how you feel (Milk, 2018)

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El segundo trabajo de COURTNEY BARNETT, se ha hecho esperar casi tres años, pero es un disco que ha merecido la pena su demora. Circunstancias personales aparte y la magnífica colaboración con Kurt Vile, este Tell me how you feel es un disco fresco, sin grandes pretensiones pero altamente disfrutable y sin embargo con un cierto índice de maduración. Indie-Pop de los noventa, esa onda rockera neoyorquina Television-Reed tan palpable y un toque justo Folkie hacen de este disco uno de los más interesantes del año.

“Courtney Barnett specializes in miniatures, which is why her 2015 debut, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, was such a wonder: with barbed words and gnarled guitars, she made everyday minutiae seem compelling. Three years in the making — it was delayed in part due to a 2017 collaboration with Kurt Vile — the 2018 sequel, Tell Me How You Really Feel, plays like the flip image of its predecessor. What once was captivating now feels indifferent, delivered with a shrug instead of a snarl. Everything about Tell Me How You Really Feel seems muted, whether it’s the grungy stomp ofBarnett and her band — a group that remains steadfastly and proudly stuck in the glory days of ’90s alt-rock — or her words, which now seem to meander to a point instead of cutting to the quick. As she’s a good craftswoman, the songs are by and large sturdy, but that talent also cuts against the success ofTell Me How You Really Feel: when they’re matched with the appealing yet incurious performances, everything feels a bit too cozy. Sometimes, a hook or a clever line cuts through the amiable haze — and “Charity,” with its chorus of “so subservient I make myself sick,” manages to blend both — but Tell Me How You Really Feel isn’t an album of moments, it’s a collection that sustains a mood: a mood that’s ragged and slack, but too dulled to charm” (All Music)

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17 noviembre, 2018 Posted by | Courtney Barnett | Deja un comentario

Lotta good songs – COURTNEY BARNETT, KURT VILE: Lotta sea lices (Milk!, Matador; 2017)

Lotta Sea Lice

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Uno de los mejores álbumes del pasado 2017 fue sin duda, este Lotta Sea Lices, el disco en el que aunaron sus talentos Courtney Barnett y Kurt Vile; o lo que es lo mismo: lo mejorcito del Pop cálido e intimista junto con lo más florido del Folk-Pop realizado en las últimas décadas. 
Como era de esperar, algo bueno habría de surgir de una unión como ésta, y Lotta Sea Lices lo demuestra. Un álbum que presenta nueve cortes íntimos, llenos de riffs cristalinos, florituras y sensibilidad. Un precioso acercamiento a la Americana desde el punto de vista más Folkie. Courtney y Kurt se versionan mutuamente y descubren otro par de versiones (Belly y Jen Cloher). Un discazo lleno de sensibilidad y de mutua admiración, que por su calidad, se queda incluso corto. ¿Tendrá continuación…?

“As heirs apparent to the throne of ’90s alt-rock, Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett appear to be an ideal match — comrades in slacktivism united by a shrug and a smirk. If neither singer/songwriter sounds precisely like the other, they’re good complements, both cherishing laconic melodies, loping rhythms, and a loads of guitar. All of these elements are in play on Lotta Sea Lice, a rambling nine-song affair that finds the duo singing each other’s songs, playing tunes penned by friends, and covering Belly‘s “Untogether,” an underappreciated ’90s cult classic that the band once played as a duet withRadiohead‘s Thom Yorke. Barnett and Vile do not bring to mind Yorke and Tanya Donelly, nor do they sound a thing like the original Kurt and Courtney of Nirvana and Hole fame. Singing together, Vile andBarnett evoke J Mascis and Liz Phair, comparisons that have been leveled against the individual rockers before, but on this lazy stroll of an LP, it appears the pair are indulging in alt-rock cosplay. It doesn’t help matters that when they indulge in an explicit duet, they often veer toward the cutesy, as on “Continental Breakfast,” where they puff up their international friendship over the titular meal. Food is a problem with Barnett and Vile: “Blue Cheese,” one of the sprightlier numbers here, is undercut by a performance that suggests the pair know precisely that it’s hookier than the rest of the proceedings, as they lean into a “nanny nanny foo foo” lyric just a tad too hard. Usually, though, Lotta Sea Lice just settles into a cozy rustic groove that dispenses with any of the coiled energy of Barnett‘s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. and opts for Vile‘s cheery stoner strumming. As they’re both charismatic singers with a way with an elliptical melody, it’s pleasant enough, but by the time its 45 minutes wrap up, Lotta Sea Lice feels like a party where the hosts are having a much better time than their guests” (All Music)

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5 abril, 2018 Posted by | Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile | Deja un comentario

Courtney Barnett: Sometimes i sit and think, and sometimes i just sit (Milk! Records, 2015)

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La zurdita australiana Courtney Barnett publicó esta primavera el que es propiamente dicho su álbum de debut, un disco en el que, además de exhibir un torrente vocal realmente impresionante, la chica saca a relucir todo su talento compositivo y literario en once cortes en el que nos muestran un paseo entre el Pop-Garajero, sonidos decididamente nineties y algunos cortes en el que la chica relaja algo sus emociones (y son precisamente aquellos que nos dejan menos sorprendidos). 
Y lo cierto es que es un buen disco, que se digiere fácilmente y transcurre plácido lo mismo entre guitarrazos a lo Patti Smith que a delicadezas tipo Sheryl Crow o a recitados Loureedianos.

“Take what you want from me,” Courtney Barnett repeats near the end of “Kim’s Caravan”, a highlight from her new album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. That bit of exasperation is surrounded by some clever observational lines and a fiery guitar solo, but it sits at the song’s core, a reminder that Barnett is more than a Seinfeld-ian joker pointing out life’s little quirks. Like Stephen Malkmus or Kurt Vonnegut, Barnett looks at the mundane with a skewed perspective, turning it over in her mind and transmogrifying it into something extraordinary.
But back to that key moment from “Kim’s Caravan”. After letting out an instrumental sigh of empty-set bass and astral harmonies, the lyricist so notable for her real world observations gets a little surreal: “Satellites on the ceiling/ I can see Jesus and she’s smiling at me/ All I wanna say is.” And the song ends there. Barnett says a lot over the course of Sometimes I Sit…, but at this emotional climax, she leaves a thought to linger. Though her output to date has been uniformly strong, her formula could be seen as predictable: talk-sung eccentric looks at the real world over slouchy indie rock tracks. But this moment without language acts as a charming moment of raw honesty, a look behind the curtain of her witty turns of phrase.
That’s not to say that Barnett has been projecting herself as an infallible social commentator, always ready with a quip. On the excellent lead single “Pedestrian at Best”, she warns us not to think too highly of her: “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you,” she groans. “Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you.” Unsurprisingly, the track is also one of the album’s scruffier moments, the guitar distortion and burnt edges around her vocals matching her forceful delivery. She doubles down on “Debbie Downer”, noting that she’s “not fishing for your compliments” before calling herself boring and neurotic. But her summary of life (“We had some lows, we had some mids, we had some highs”) is the sort of “no shit” understanding of the world that largely gets passed over for the extremes of all lows or mostly highs.
Barnett clearly doesn’t always take herself or her surroundings seriously, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have serious things to say about both. The beautiful “Depreston” ostensibly details the singer’s search for a home in the suburbs of Melbourne, but it unlocks deep feelings about aging, mortality, and memory. There’s something telling in the switch from living near coffee shops to having her own percolator; the transition into adulthood can be seen in the art of homemade lattes as well as the suburban move itself. The house she tours has a two-car garage and pressed metal ceilings, but the things she latches onto (“the handrail in the shower,” a photo of a young man in Vietnam) are the remnants of an older person who left the place “a deceased estate.” Though the world often boils value down to property itself, she focuses on how property represents individual people. It’s with a wink and a tear, then, that Barnett repeats a line about how those memories can be burned away by a cruel world: “If you’ve got a spare half a million/ You could knock it down and start rebuilding.”
Some of the tracks revel in their simplicity. After spending the majority of the twanging “Aqua Profunda!” describing an attempt at impressing a fellow swimmer in the lap pool, Barnett describes how her lack of athleticism caused her to sink “like a stone/ Like a first owner’s home loan.” Later, “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party” finds her brain circling a decision that many struggle with on Friday nights: “I wanna go out but I wanna stay home.” She details a crumbling hotel room on “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” in the way that only an insomniac longing for their significant other halfway across the world could.
Barnett doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal, but the beautifully rendered, poetic observations on Sometimes I Sit… might just put one under her anyway. Luckily, she doesn’t seem like the type of person that would be changed by that sort of experience. If anything, it’ll just give her a fresh set of strange situations with which to draw out new realizations of the world’s absurd depth” (Consequence of Sound)

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28 octubre, 2015 Posted by | Courtney Barnett | Deja un comentario

   

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