(Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat)
Since her debut in March of last year with Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Australian alternative rocker Courtney Barnett has been the talk of the indie town. Even if it might be kinda hard to be considered indie when you are being adored by so many people that even the Grammys can’t just past by you without a small nod for Best New Artist.
Although the instrumentation or the songwriting on the album may not be anything groundbreaking or revelatory, the true charm of Barnett’s debut comes in her thoughtful lyrics. She views the world from a perspective that many have not explored before, and she does it well. From lyrics about her love of instant ramen to a song about a house-hunting couple looking into the life of a widow, Barnett seems to have no lack of inspiration in what to sing about.
Speaking of singing, Barnett’s definitely not lacking in vocal talent either. Although it may not be mind-blowing, her voice emanates a warm tone while still having enough bite to express her humorous lyrics. You can check out her vocal harmonies with Paul Kelly on a cover of Archie Roach’s “Charcoal Lane.”
Her unique insight into the world is also quite clearly reflected in her music videos. “Pedestrian at Best,” which clearly showcases the crazy antics that Barnett’s stream of consciousness lyrics would get her into in real life contrasts with the seemingly simple video for “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party.”
Now, over a year after her debut LP, Barnett just released a new music video for album opener “Elevator Operator.”
The video was directed by cartoonist Sam Leunig (son of also-cartoonist Michael Leunig), and it features an overworked elevator operator (as the title would suggest) played by Barnett. Barnett’s operator faces a series of out-of-place characters in locations that elevators definitely can NOT go to, showing off a surreal nature to both her lyrics and the overall vibe of the video itself.
One of the real fun aspects of her latest music video is spotting all the various cameos of indie, counter-culture legends including Sleater-Kinney, Magda Szubanski (of Kath & Kim), Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco), Tim Rogers, Paul Kelly, and The Drones, the last of which also released an album this year by the name of “Feelin Kinda Free,” a feeling Barnett is clearly not feeling.
In the end of the video, Barnett ends up at the top of the building, looking over a busy street for a moment of “perception and clarity,” imagining she’s “playing Sim City.”
Watch the fun new video from Barnett below: