She might have played a sad clown in her music video for “Pedestrian at Best,” but this morning Australian garage-rock singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett has one big reason to be happy: a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
Barnett is the outlier among the category’s other more radio and chart-friendly nominees, like Sam Hunt and Meghan Trainor. Known for her clever, funny, and tightly packed lyrics and drawling, deadpan vocal delivery, Barnett released her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, in March of this year to huge critical praise; it has already landed on many music journalists’ year-end top 10 albums lists. Commercially, however, the album only lasted a week on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at number 20.
The Melbourne-based Barnett has been heralded as a bright hope for indie rock, as well as for women in rock, garnering comparisons to icons like Liz Phair and Sleater-Kinney and evoking the grunge and lo-fi sounds of the 1990s’ influential alt-rock era. Barnett’s buzz has been building Stateside ever since she played New York’s CMJ festival (and later, this year, Austin, Texas’s South By Southwest), although she’s been recording as a solo artist since 2012, when she self-released the EP I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris on her Milk! Records label Down Under. Before that, she played in Rapid Transit and the Dandy Warhols-associated psych band Immigrant Union.
Barnett’s nomination for Best New Artist is somewhat of a surprise, considering that other more recognizable artists were left off – specifically rapper Fetty Wap, whose hit song “Trap Queen” was unavoidable this year.
Courtney Barnett is currently on tour and recently opened for Britpop legends Blur at Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl. She has gigs in Australia through the end of January, and then most likely will be in Los Angeles on Feb. 15 for the Grammys ceremony.
For live music you can stream from home, check out the Live Nation channel on Yahoo. Our next concert is from Monica on Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. PT. You can find out more details here.