Courtney Barnett, the 26-year-old Australian anti-folk singer, has signed a licensing agreement in North America with the independent label Mom + Pop. Barnett, known for plainspoken, narrative songs vivified by a subtle wit and compulsive attention to detail, is signed internationally to the London-based indie Marathon Artists via a joint venture between its imprint House Anxiety and her own label Milk! Records.
The contract with Mom + Pop covers a re-release, set for April 15, of Barnett's 2013 double EP "The Double EP: A Sea of Spit Peas." A debut full-length album, for which she'll head into the studio this April, also falls under the deal.
Barnett has been putting out records with her friends since 2012, paying bills along the way with a night job bartending and waitressing at a Melbourne rock venue. But it was last fall's "Avant Gardener," on which she delivers a memorable and unexpectedly droll account of a severe asthma attack suffered in her front garden, that first established her internationally as a promising new voice in music. At CMJ in October, Barnett was hailed by NPR and other outlets as one of the conference's breakout young talents.
"I'm very hands on with my music -- I do all the artwork and everything myself -- and the songs I write aren't necessarily the most commercial," says Barnett in a phone interview. "It was important to me to work with a label that was OK with that and with keeping the creative channels open."
Mom + Pop's founder and CEO Michael "Goldie" Goldstone, whose roster includes other Aussie acts like Flume and Jagwar Ma, caught one of Barnett's CMJ showcases and aggressively pursued a licensing deal with Marathon. A subsequent in-person meeting in London helped put Mom + Pop ahead of major labels and other large independents who were also in contention. In December, after a series of Skype calls, Barnett and longtime manager Nick O'Byrne gave Goldstone their final seal of approval. Booking in the U.S. is handled by Marshall Betts at The Windish Agency.
"The songs resonate in a way that make you feel like a part of a story," Goldstone says of what drew him to Barnett. "She has a non-traditional approach to writing that connects as visceral and immediate."
Mom + Pop will re-release "The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas" on vinyl and CD with a primary goal of building relationships with independent retailers in advance of the full-length album. Although no date has been set, the LP is tentatively slated for release later this year. A video for "Split Peas" single "Anonymous Club," streaming below, is also in the works.
U.S. fans can catch Barnett's particular blend of ambling garage rock and unfussy charm during a weeklong U.S. tour starting later this month in Chicago. She's also just joined the stacked-and-still-growing Coachella line up in April. See full dates below.
Feb. 18: Chicago, IL -- Empty Bottle
Feb. 19: Washington, DC -- DC9
Feb. 20: Philadelphia, PA -- Union Transfer
Feb. 21: New York, NY -- Mercury Lounge
Feb. 22: Brooklyn, NY -- The Knitting Factory
Feb. 23: Los Angeles, CA -- Bootleg Bar
Feb. 24: San Francisco, CA -- Rickshaw Stop