Gordi is Sophie Payten, a 22-year-old Australian whose music trembles with a broad spectrum of emotion under an assured glassy sheen. It would have been easy to scan past her single “Can We Work It Out” amongst all the familiar names on our favorite songs of 2015 list, but Gordi won’t be the kind of musician you can ignore much longer. Like similarly minded forebears Justin Vernon and Angel Olsen, she has inked a deal with Jagjaguwar and will release her debut EP later this year.
In the meantime we get her transformative cover of fellow Australian talent Courtney Barnett’s breakthrough single “Avant Gardener.” What once was an ambling, understated guitar-rock groove about a class clown’s nervous breakdown is here presented as a breathy piano ballad that builds to a huge cathartic finish, flipping Barnett’s wry refrain “I’m having trouble breathing in” into a shiver-inducing climax. You’d think sucking the sense of humor out of a Courtney Barnett song would be a bad idea, but Gordi absolutely makes this one her own. Listen below.