Sounds Like: Melancholy and the infinite slackness – loose, easygoing alt-rock with the sense of gentle self-awareness that many first-gen alt-rockers lacked
For Fans Of: Juliana Hatfield, the Go-Betweens, Lou Reed
Why You Should Pay Attention: One of Rolling Stone's best discoveries at last year's CMJ, Courtney Barnett has little more than two EPs to her name, collected together on the comp, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, due in America on April 15th. Yet she has lined up appearances at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Primavera and more – not to mention gigs with MGMT, Phosphorescent and Sharon Van Etten. She writes whole-hearted, often-funny confessionals about everything from writing her best songs when she's asleep in a drunken stupor ("History Eraser") to masturbating to get to sleep ("Lance Jr."); and does it all with imaginative, quasi-psychedelic guitar playing and a sweetly sublime vocals.
She Says: "I think anything that influences you for the worse you've just gotta use and turn it into something good – like Guernica," she says, joking. One of the bad experiences Barnett turned into something positive was the very true event she sings about in "Avant Gardener." On one especially hot day (104 degrees, according to the lyrics), she suffered an anaphylactic panic attack while gardening and needed an adrenaline shot à la Pulp Fiction. "That is a real story," she says emphatically. "The only untrue part is that I actually got adrenalin to the thigh, not the heart."
Hear for Yourself: Barnett's easy, breezy panic attack number, "Avant Gardener," dramatized in the video as a tennis kerfuffle. By Kory Grow