“Most are pretty revealing of myself”, she admits, a characteristic that has seen her dubbed “the musical Lena Dunham”.Lyrics allude to everything from the minutiae of her laundry schedule and phone conversations with worried parents (“Are you eating?If you’ve heard of Courtney Barnett – and the 26-year-old Australian is rapidly becoming the indie darling of 2014, played all over radio stations like Radio 6 Music and selling out gigs on word-of-mouth – it’ll be because of her song “Avant Gardener”.Over a five-minute track of swirly, squally guitars, Barnett tells the story of a “mun-dane” Monday in Melbourne when, after weeding her scuzzy front yard during a heatwave, a sudden panic attack turned into near-fatal anaphylactic shock, which saw her rushed to hospital and given a shot of adrenalin.Her mum was a ballet dancer, her father a screenprinter.
It [gives you] a really funny and sometimes dark outlook on life: a good mixture for songwriting.” She keeps notes in a journal every day – she’s kept one since she was a kid – and then sits down with a guitar to “stick them all together into songs”.
However, the laid-back Aussie, whose music is firmly in the slacker-rock tradition – with references to weed-smoking and not wanting “no nine-to-five” – is bemused by the international attention.“It’s definitely surprising! “It’s the other side of the fucking planet, so it’s a pretty far-out thing.”If “Avant Gardener” was her breakthrough, what does she think was its appeal?
“I dunno,” says Barnett in a lazily dopey drawl, answers as meandering as her music.
“Dad sometimes sends me texts saying ‘just heard you on the radio, thumbs up’, or whatever.
So that’s pretty cute.” She may have inherited his artistic streak, too: despite quitting art school after two years (“I wasn’t really focusing, so why waste the time and money?