Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit And Think... (2015)
Barnett comes across like your quirky friend who majored in Poetry with a Philosophy minor, wandering around the city all day with a thick notebook, furiously scribbling down her every observation and personal reflection. She sings these free-flowing stories in a wickedly beguiling yet conversational tone, half marveling at what's before her with child-like wonder, half totally aloof and jaded, with her distinctive Australian accent giving even the most joyfully banal denizens of her neighborhood a dramatic spin. Of course, that might make for a record best suited for sitting on the couch with the lyric sheet rather than an entertaining listening experience, had she not put together an adept pick-up band and tethered her words to a varied musical palette.
Stylistically, the music ranges from the wispy Americana of the incredible "Depreston," an entrancing piece about suburban home shopping, to the punk-ish frenzy of "Pedestrian At Best," an acid-tongued personal confession of sorts. Most falls somewhere in between, like the straight upbeat pop-rock of "Elevator Operator," with its high-rise people-watching, and "Aqua Profunda," a more modest view from the local pool, and especially the super-catchy "Debbie Downer." (Alas, it trails off a bit with the more downbeat tunes that close out the record, reinforcing how much her musings are assisted by a punchy rock backdrop.)
It's one of the more fascinating debuts of the past decade; you can pick it up at Bandcamp, as well as the rest of her catalog.
Here's "Depreston":...and "Elevator Operator":...and "Pedestrian At Best":...and a live "Debbie Downer":