Under the Radar Announces Spring 2018 Issue with Courtney Barnett on the Cover | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Under the Radar Announces Spring 2018 Issue with Courtney Barnett on the Cover

Issue 63 Also Includes Interviews with MGMT, The Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Fleet Foxes, Parquet Courts, Noel Gallagher, Spoon, and More

Mar 28, 2018 Anna Burch Bookmark and Share

Under the Radar is excited to announce the full details of our Spring 2018 Issue, which is out now digitally via Under the Radar’s app and the magazine apps Readly and Zinio. The print version has shipped out to subscribers and stores and will be on all newsstands soon. The issue features Courtney Barnett on the cover.

The issue also features interviews with MGMT, The Decemberists, Belle and Sebastian, The National, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Fleet Foxes, Spoon, Parquet Courts, Noel Gallagher, Franz Ferdinand, First Aid Kit, Wye Oak, Young Fathers, Tune-Yards, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lucy Dacus, Mount Eerie, Gaz Coombes, Hookworms, Yo La Tengo, Django Django, Okkervil River, Soccer Mommy, Superorganism, Julien Baker, Preoccupations, Paul Rust of Netflix’s Love, and much more.


(Courtney Barnett photographed by Tajette O’Halloran in Melbourne, Australia)

Courtney Barnett

For our in-depth 4,000-word cover story article, writer Matt Fink spoke in-depth to Courtney Barnett about the critically acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist’s much anticipated sophomore full-length album, Tell Me How You Really Feel.

Barnett first came to our attention due to her 2013 release, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, which collected two EPs and featured the viral hit “Avant Gardener.” In 2015 she released her debut full-length album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, via Mom + Pop and it landed at #6 on Under the Radar‘s Top 100 Albums of 2015 list. Last year Barnett teamed up with American singer/songwriter/guitarist Kurt Vile for the collaborative album, Lotta Sea Lice, which came out in October via Matador. (It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2017.)

As Matt Fink writes in the article: “Over the course of two EPs, one critically-lauded full-length (2015’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit) and one unexpectedly excellent collaborative album with Kurt Vile (2017’s Lotta Sea Lice), Barnett has established herself as a songwriter with a rare eye for plainspoken detail and slice-of-life vignettes. There has been anger and sadness in her work-“I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny” still stings three years later-but it was always delivered with a grin and only after she’d already offered a self-deprecating aside. A study in balance, her work can be self-effacing without being self-pitying, clever without being precious, profound without being ponderous. These were not songs constructed out of bold strokes as much as small insights and sharp wordplay. This time, the personal and the universal are woven together on Tell Me How You Really Feel.”

Tajette O’Halloran photographed Barnett for the cover exclusively for Under the Radar in Melbourne, Australia.

“I remember I got one singing lesson when I was maybe 16, and I just cried. I sung a bit and I just started crying. It’s weird. I don’t know why. Singing is such a vulnerable thing.” - Courtney Barnett

“Even when I was in primary school, I would make bands. No one else seemed that interested in it, but I would force people into it.” - Courtney Barnett

“Some of the songs are about friends or close people, and it felt like I was writing a self-help book a little bit. It feels like a self-help album.” - Courtney Barnett

“It’s such an angry and sad album, but [I’m] working through that feeling to something else.” - Courtney Barnett

“Songwriting is so strange to me, because it feels like everything has been said, and what can you say that is different or meaningful that hasn’t been said?” - Courtney Barnett


(Parquet Courts photographed by Koury Angelo in Los Angeles, CA)

The front-of-book Detection section features interviews with various musicians and one actor/writer. It opens with an interview and photo shoot with Parquet Courts, as they discuss their new album Wide Awake! Mount Eerie‘s A Crow Looked at Me was one of 2017’s most acclaimed and devastating albums, as Phil Elverum examined his grief after the death of his wife, artist and songwriter Geneviève Castrée. We talked to Elverum about his new album, Now Only, and how he’s doing a year after A Crow Looked at Me. We interview former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes about his new solo album, World’s Strongest Man. The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy and Chris Funk explain the origin of the band’s new synth-pop influenced sound. Belle and Sebastian‘s Stuart Murdoch discusses the beloved Scottish band’s three new EPs and how Buddhism has changed his mindset. We talk to Paul Rust, co-creator, co-writer, and co-star of Love, about the Netflix series’ third and final season.

The Detection section also includes interviews with the following artists about their latest albums: Lucy Dacus, Django Django, First Aid Kit, Franz Ferdinand, Ezra Furman, Hookworms, MGMT, Preoccupations, Tune-Yards, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Marlon Williams, Wye Oak, Yo La Tengo, and Young Fathers.

“I’m almost 50 years old, and it seems silly to say my mindset has been changed by Buddhist classes over the last three years, but it has, and in different ways.” - Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian

“What I’m proud of the most is that [on my new album Historian] all the sonic elements are really mirroring the content of the songs, which I love.” - Lucy Dacus

“It all comes down to being a good human being. Trying to be balanced, patient, tolerant, and understanding people. It’s not a massive effort.” - Gaz Coombes

“I think of myself as being a kind and generous person, but I also am deeply angry and deeply cynical. I think it’s hard to be a modern person and not be a little cynical.” - Colin Meloy of The Decemberists

“We’re not too bothered about what kind of band we’re supposed to be or what kind of music we’re supposed to make.” - Dave Maclean of Django Django

“I think there is some pain and some openness that just wasn’t there on our previous records. We needed this to be fun in the studio, because on these songs, we were pouring out our hearts as we were performing them.” - Johanna Söderberg of First Aid Kit

“Ninety-five percent of the creativity happens in that instant, unfettered moment. But in regards to the actual work, 95% of the work is the hard bit at the end that focuses it, makes it and gives form.” - Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand

“This notion that feeling the squeeze, either with mental health, or cultural conditions, or having no money, that’s going to make you a good artist? That’s wrong, and so upsetting.” - Ezra Furman

“The musical and lyrical themes [on the album] are contemporary issues about masculinity and mental health, but the current moment has certainly made us feel alive to the necessity of political music.” - Sam “SS” Shjipstone of Hookworms

“Because we’ve had songs that were popular or on the radio, we were asking, ‘Where do we fit?’ Especially on our second album and even into making our third album, we were still kind of concerned about that.” - Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT

“On the last couple records, I don’t think we cared too much about what people would think of the music, but on this one, we were definitely able to push that out of our heads even more this time around.” - Ben Goldwasser of MGMT

“Sometimes people [that email me] have the same exact story as mine. Their husband died and they have a two-year-old kid. Those types of stories feel weirdly good, because being in this rare circumstance, it’s like an extra layer of suffering to feel isolated in the world.” - Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie

“[Our song ‘Violence’] deals explicitly with violence and how it has become a routine part of American life. It’s a recurring theme in our work that pops up because, well, so does violence.” - A. Savage of Parquet Courts

“Anger and rage or a tendency toward violence, all these sort of negative emotions are really on the surface these days. There’s a lot of stimulus to access these feelings on a day to day basis, it’s hard to ignore that.” - Austin Brown of Parquet Courts

“If my 15-year-old self saw me touring around Europe and playing for thousands of people some nights being depressed, he would kick the shit out of me.” - Matt Flegel of Preoccupations

“Gus’ flaws might seem less abrasive than Mickey’s, but there’s something more toxic about the person who has stuff they need to work on and pretends they don’t. That’s more toxic than the person who’s going, ‘Hey, I admit I’m flawed and I’m working on this.’” - Paul Rust on Love

“I think that I came up with an album of lyrics that are thought-provoking, hopefully, and powerful, hopefully, and will resonate with folks, hopefully. In the ideal world they will empower more people to be themselves and speak their truths.” - Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards

“I’ve read about how high the percentage of your tax dollars going to the military industrial complex is. Just by living [in America], you’re contributing to the problem no matter how liberal you are, or what you make with your work.” - Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra

“One of my favorite things about touring is seeing that everyone, all across the world, is pretty much the same.” - Marlon Williams

“I’ve realized for the past 10 years of my life I’ve always been actively working on something. This record was about a lot of frustrations I’ve had about what drives me to function that way. It’s about my anxiety and detachment from the world.” - Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak

“I don’t think by nature we are very explicit or outspoken. God bless everybody who is but we’re not that way. I think our band’s entire existence is its own statement.” - James McNew of Yo La Tengo

“The world is shite, we get it. We are aware of all these things and the music tries to feel it, but it’s not wagging a finger saying ‘don’t do this, don’t do that.’” - Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers

BEST OF 2017

This issue was delayed for various reasons discussed in the issue’s Letter from the Editor. It was originally meant to be a Winter Issue due out in late December 2017 or early January 2018 and was thus going to have a Best of 2017 theme. When the issue got pushed back we shifted the focus to 2018 releases, but some great articles from the original version of the issue remain. They include interviews with Fleet Foxes and Spoon, two artists we weren’t otherwise able to interview in 2017. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Noel Gallagher (formerly of Oasis of course) both released new albums late last year and we weren’t able to interview them in time for our Fall 2017 issue. And while we did interview The National last year, our writer Mike Hilleary went and hung out with the band in Hudson, NY and wrote an even more in-depth new article on their latest album, Sleep Well Beast.

“If [with Crack-Up] the reaction was more muted to toeing the line between the old sound and going somewhere new, then that seems like more license to totally change in on the next one.” - Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes

“There is a very thin line between horror songs and nursery rhymes.” - Charlotte Gainsbourg

“If you’re a guy and you play a guitar, you’re almost obliged to write about the news. And, quite frankly, the news is fucking boring. No good songs are going to come out of Donald Trump’s face. There’s not going to be a good song about Brexit. There’s not going to be a good song about the little fat fellow from North Korea.” - Noel Gallagher

“When I’m not with the band I’m feeling like, ‘Okay, I’m doing my life right.’ When I’m with the band I’m feeling, ‘I’m doing my art right.’ We’re starting to find that healthy balance.” - Matt Berninger of The National

“The thing with a collaborative band, there’s these very tenuous, fragile relationships, even more fragile than a romantic relationship.” - Aaron Dessner of The National

“I’ve fantasized about make a record where I do nothing. Maybe I just sing. I don’t have to write the songs. I don’t have to produce. I just sing.” - Britt Daniel of Spoon


For Under the Radar‘s 15th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last year. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2017 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Topics included the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment and assault, President Donald Trump’s first year in office, implanted technology, which Breakfast Club character they are most like, whether or not there are too many music festivals, racism in America, embarrassing moments on stage, professional regrets, and more. This is another section leftover from the original version of the issue, so it is significantly shorter in print than in previous years. It features surveys from Julien Baker, Marika Hackman, Madeline Kenney, and Kelcey Ayer of Jaws of Love. and Local Natives. Then there are bonus answers from Amber Arcades, Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone, The Blow, Gaz Coombes, Dana Buoy, El Perro Del Mar, Fischerspooner, Grooms, POLIÇA and s t a r g a z e, POND, Lee Ranaldo, and She-Devils.

“I saw the newest Star Wars recently and loved it. I didn’t even know that it had such a mixed reception until I was talking about it later to movie-buff friend who assured me it was awful. I’ve been told my privileges to give opinions on Star Wars films were revoked following my dreadful admission to enjoying Episode I, and fair enough, maybe I am the least qualified Star Wars fan.” - Julien Baker

“Not every white person is a Nazi, but every white person has benefitted from racism, and is slightly racist in some way. I think a great concrete step is for white people to talk to other white people about their racism, explore it, and uproot it. It’s uncomfortable, but if we can’t at least do that to help, then we don’t care.” - Kelcey Ayer of Jaws of Love. and Local Natives

“Honestly I think every single woman, or pretty much any human who isn’t a white man, has experienced or witnessed some form of harassment.” - Madeline Kenney

“I find it fascinating that every sci-fi film or book presents a dystopian future borne out of humans taking technology too far, yet we’re still racing down that track knowing that it is fraught with danger.” - Marika Hackman


(Soccer Mommy photographed by Ray Lego in New York, NY)

Our Pleased to Meet You new bands section highlights these exciting new artists: Anna Burch, Caroline Rose, Shame, Soccer Mommy, Sons of an Illustrious Father (which features actor Ezra Miller, who played The Flash/Barry Allen in Justice League), and Superorganism.

“That clean slate you think you have, well, it eventually becomes clear you’re still carrying a lot of problems you left behind.” - Anna Burch

“Pop music, I always thought it was simple. And now I’m like, ‘Oh no-it is the most complex genre.’” - Caroline Rose

“The whole idea [of rock being dead] is so romanticized. It’s like, ‘Oh well, you weren’t there at the 100 Club when Johnny Rotten pissed on himself!’ Well, so what?” - Eddie Green of Shame

“You can’t force yourself to be totally different all of a sudden.” - Sophie Allison of Soccer Mommy

“We endeavor to express ourselves in ways that allow us to make it through any given day. The great byproduct of that expression is we can offer the same for others.” - Ezra Miller of Sons of an Illustrious Father

“I remember 10-year-old Ezra giving me The Smiths’ Meat Is Murder and telling me: ‘You should really be vegetarian.’” - Lilah Larson of Sons of an Illustrious Father

“It’s really hard to imagine life without the Internet, without being able to immediately find people that are on the same wavelength as you. [The band] wouldn’t have even met without it.” - Orono Noguchi of Superorganism


For our regular last page feature, The End, we ask a different artist the same set of questions about endings and death. Will Sheff of Okkervil River is this issue’s participant.

“My girlfriend’s father was the first big death where I was present for a lot of the whole long arc downward. It really re-aligned my life. I came out of that experience a lot more interested in other people’s feelings than I had been before.” - Will Sheff of Okkervil River


Almost 90 albums and comic books are reviewed in the issue, including reviews of releases by:

A Place to Bury Strangers
Courtney Barnett
Belle and Sebastian
The Breeders
Anna Burch
David Byrne
Camp Cope
Car Seat Headrest
Cavern of Anti-Matter
Gaz Coombes
Lucy Dacus
The Decemberists
DJ Koze
Django Django
JB Dunckel
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat
El Perro Del Mar
Everything Is Recorded
Field Music
First Aid Kit
George FitzGerald
Nils Frahm
Frankie Cosmos
Franz Ferdinand
Eleanor Friedberger
Ezra Furman
The Go Team
Guided By Voices
Hop Along
Hot Snakes
Lord Huron
Manic Street Preachers
The Men
Middle Kids
Mount Eerie
Mouse on Mars
Nap Eyes
No Age
of Montreal
Parquet Courts
POLIÇA and s t a r g a z e
Steve Reich
Caroline Rose
Screaming Females
The Sea and Cake
Ty Segall
Soccer Mommy
Speedy Ortiz
The Spook School
Alexis Taylor
Tracey Thorn
Titus Andronicus
Tracyanne & Danny
Twin Peaks
Twin Shadow
U.S. Girls
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
The Voidz
Anna Von Hausswolff
Jack White
Wild Beasts
Marlon Williams
Jonathan Wilson
Andrew W.K.
Wye Oak
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
Yo La Tengo
Young Fathers


Each issue comes with a digital sampler that is a free download and includes up to 33 MP3s. This issue’s digital sampler includes tracks by:

Courtney Barnett
The Beat Escape
Anna Burch
Colour Me Wednesday
Gaz Coombes
Joey Dosik
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat
Field Music
Nils Frahm
The Freed Radicals
Ezra Furman
The Go! Team
Hop Along
Mount Eerie
of Montreal
Okkervil River
Prism Tats
Reese and the Bonus Plan
Caroline Rose
Soccer Mommy
Tracyanne & Danny
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Anna Von Hausswolff
We Are The West
Marlon Williams
Wye Oak
Young Jesus


The digital version of the issue (available via iTunes, Android, Zinio, Readly, and Amazon and for iPads, iPhones, Macs, and PCs) also features extra interviews not found in the print magazine. We talk to Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways), director of the underrated science fiction comedy-drama Downsizing, starring Matt Damon, in which people choose to be shrunk down to live in miniaturized cities as a way to help with global warming and overpopulation. We also interview Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords) about his recent movie, Humor Me. There are also digital magazine interviews with The Go! Team, Loma, and U.S. Girls (in an in-depth, near-4,000 word Q&A).

“[Before I got my big break] I started thinking about what jobs I could do that were similar [to movies and TV], and then I considered advertising, which I really dislike. It seemed like a really bleak option.” - Jemaine Clement

“For me, The Go! Team has always been a tightrope walk between cuteness and noise and not going too sickly. We’re making songs go off on tangents, but not to the point where it feels wrong.” - Ian Parton of The Go! Team

“[Recording the album] was like playing with a Ouija board-the thing is moving, but you can’t tell who’s moving it.” - Jonathan Meiburg of Loma

“[The shrinking humanity premise] was an entry point not just to talk about climate change and overpopulation, but a host of other things. It became a science fiction-slash-political metaphor.” - Alexander Payne

“We’ve been lied to. Unfortunately, the only people that know the truth of our history are the people that were fucking annihilated by it, oppressed by it, personally experienced it, and were diminished by it. They’ll tell you where and what the real history is.” - Meg Remy of U.S. Girls


The digital version of the magazine also includes 21 extra reviews not found in the print version, including albums by the following:

Poppy Ackroyd
The Beat Escape
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Dream Wife
Fever Ray
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Haley Heynderickx
Mimicking Birds
Kate Nash
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto
Panda Bear
The Shins
Simian Mobile Disco
Son Lux

Click here to buy the print version of the issue.

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Click here to subscribe to the magazine for iOS devices.

Click here to subscribe to the magazine for Android devices.

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April 2nd 2018

This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading.

June 2nd 2018

Courtney Barnett seems to be pretty popular. I can tell by reading a lot of her success that she has accomplished. It is the kind of drive that she has that inspires me as well to reach towards my goals.

I hope to continue checking out her latest accomplishments in the music industry so I can continue realizing how important it is to work your butt off for what you want to get done in life.

Thank you for continuing to provide me with these inspiring articles that allows me to push for what I want on a daily basis :).

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July 2nd 2018

Awesome post,