Song of the Day: Courtney Barnett – History Eraser

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “History Eraser” by Courtney Barnett from the 2013 EP How To Carve A Carrot Into A Rose on Milk! Records.

Courtney Barnett – History Eraser (MP3)

Courtney Barnett tells it like it is. With a refreshingly earnest appreciation for literalism and an amiable deadpan delivery, the 24 year-old Melbourne singer-songwriter creates narratives that could be read word-for-word as a story without music and still be just as charming. Fortunately, Barnett’s musical compositions – simple, DIY, pop-structured, rock accented, with flashes of lo-fi, psychedelia, and folk – serve more than effectively as canvases for Barnett’s stream-of-maybe-consciousness tales. A pair of self-released EPs (I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris and How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose) established Barnett as a standout in her local scene, and after a wave of positive features in the press and series of strong performances at CMJ Music Marathon, Barnett’s inaugural trip to America was not just her chance to see squirrels for the first time, but a likely precursor to a much bigger year for the Aussie songstress. Laced with clever, but never obnoxious, wordplay that reflects her dry sense of humor, “History Eraser” serves as an upbeat jangle that follows one night’s drunken musings with somewhat more focus than its subject lets on. Barnett’s forwardness and complete lack of self-editing makes for a highly engaging four minutes – its opening line of “I got drunk and fell atop the sheets but luckily I left the heater on” is somehow the song’s least interesting bit – and as she meanders through tangents of romance, travel, art school, and getting drunk (again), it’s hard not to follow her down whatever delightfully random path she chooses.

Courtney Barnett will be back in North America in February, but although she doesn’t have any Northwestern dates announced at the moment, she’s going to have a busy 2014, especially considering the buzz building around her, so keep your eyes peeled on her website and Facebook to see where she’ll go. For now, watch the Bec Kingma-directed video for today’s featured song:

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  1. Roman
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Very cool song!

  2. Thomas Maher
    Posted February 21, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    What instruments are being played in “History Eraser”? I think I can hear some mellotron (nicely used too).

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