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Courtney Barnett is Going Up in Her New Music Video for “Elevator Operator”

Take a trip with the Australian indie artist on her strange elevator ride…

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If you’re a fan of some straight guitar-driven indie rock, and you haven’t heard of the Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist Courtney Barnett yet, it’s about time you got familiar. After gaining traction internationally with her 2013 EP, The Double EP: A Sea Split Peas, Barnett followed up with her critically acclaimed album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, which was released by Milk! Records in October 2015.

The album was given exceptional reviews from the music media, including PitchforkRolling StoneThe A.V. Club, and so on and so forth. Barnett, who was also nominated for Best New Artist at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, has become a fan favorite for taking grey and mundane moments of life and making them a powerful experience. Her crunchy guitarwork mingled with her quirky and quick-witted lyricism makes for an album that doubles as a great piece of literature. 

On the opening track of the album, “Elevator Operator”, Barnett sings about the woes of 20-year-old Oliver Paul, a presumably fictional character who is fed up with his job and daily Vegemite sandwiches (Barnett is Australian, after all). After contemplating his life on the roof of a building, Barnett’s character asks “All I ever wanted to be was an elevator operator, can you help me please?" Although the lyrics seem to explore the depths of a young man’s troubled mind, the instrumentals are uplifting and bright, featuring a catchy guitar lead that lures you in throughout the story.

In the recently released music video for the track, which features a cameo from the essential indie punk rock band Sleater-Kinney, an elevator operator is exactly what Barnett becomes. As the catchy tune begins, Barnett appears in the full operator uniform, and after she arrives at her job in the elevator, she travels up and down to the beach, a bowling alley, and other strange locations. All the while, nuns, vampires, and many other characters come along for the elevator ride.

At the end of the video, Barnett steps out onto the roof, where her and her band meet to jam out the chorus one last time. The Australian rocker will be touring an assortment of festivals through the world in July, and will touch down in the U.S. for the Austin, Texas-based Sound on Sound fest in early November.  

Watch the music video below.

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