Courtney Barnett seems to be understandably quiet in 2019, releasing little more than the one-off single “Everybody Here Hates You” and an IOU for a Wilco cover in November, in addition to continually headlining shows in support of last year’s Tell Me How You Really Feel. Yet today Barnett is offering up a gentle reminder that she’s still heading up Milk! Records, the Australian indie label through which she releases her own music, as well as that of her partner Jen Cloher and a handful of others, by covering labelmates Loose Tooth’s track “Keep On.”
As a part of the forthcoming Milk! comp and McPoyle fantasy Milk on Milk, Barnett is giving the new wave–informed single a downcast makeover, supplying it with the songwriter’s familiar brand of lethargic rock. Although Barnett claims her band had no time to practice the cover, which was recorded in just a few hours, her reverence for Loose Tooth is pretty explicit. Per a press statement:
“We took Loose Tooth on tour around Europe in mid-2018 and every night I sat in my hotel room teaching myself how to play ‘Keep On.’ This was before their album had come out but the song already felt like an old classic to me. I sat in bed with my guitar every night n I had to slow the song down and pull it apart a little bit n in that process it gained a certain weight where I heard the words differently. The chorus became a mantra and shook me up a bit. Loose Tooth have this incredible talent for churning out the sweetest pop songs with these biting lyrics, all whilst maintaining this charming n disarming onstage banter n crowd surfing to the bar for a beer mid-song. The lyrics to this song are particularly powerful n nostalgic to me.”
Check out the cover below, and expect Milk on Milk out November 15. You can pre-order it here.