24-year old Australian whiz-kid Courtney Barnett brought her humbly applied lyrical smarts and brassily strummed hooks to Pianos for the first of umpteen shows she’ll be doing this week during the CMJ 2013. She arrives from Down Under with some bubbling up buzz, based on two self-released EPs that’ll soon be available on one record. As she and her drummer and bassist set up last night, there was nothing to suggest you were about to see one of the more promising young songwriters around.
She and her band might have looked like another bunch of slack indie rockers, but once they cut into their set, it was apparent that they’re also a bunch of awesome Aussies who have solid garage rock riffs and raw instrumental dexterity in their DNA. Strong songs and Barnett’s tricky wordplay were able to shine through in the noisier live setting just as well as on her recordings. Barnett can go from coy-glance romance tale-telling to hair-shaking guitar grinder in an instant. And it took about an instant to decide that she’d be one of those acts that you’ll make time to catch again while traveling the endless horizon of the Marathon.