In addition to consistently kicking out top-shelf indie rock, Courtney Barnett runs Milk! Records, a record label focused on promoting musicians from her native Australia and nearby New Zealand. Milk is releasing a compilation next month featuring various artists on the label covering each other’s songs. Naturally, this comp is called Milk On Milk. Artists involved with the project include Tiny Ruins, Jade Imagine, Loose Tooth, Evelyn Ida Morris, the Finks, Hachiku, East Brunswick All Girls Choir, Jen Cloher, and Barnett herself.
To kick off the Milk On Milk rollout, Barnett is sharing the song she herself recorded for the comp. It’s a cover of Loose Tooth’s “Keep On,” which in her hands sounds very much like a grooving, laconic Courtney Barnett song. It’s quite the makeover considering the original track was a gleaming twee post-punk ditty from Loose Tooth’s 2018 album Keep Up. (It bears mentioning that this Loose Tooth, from Melbourne, is different from the Philly-based Loose Tooth we’ve covered before.)
In a press release, Barnett explains:
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. The band performing with me is Jen Sholakis on Drums, Dave Mudie on Bass n Me on Guitar. I didn’t let them rehearse cos I knew they’re too good and they’d work better n looser under the pressure. We recorded it in a few hours with everyone on vocals at the end plus a little added angel, Anika AKA Hachiku.
Hear Barnett’s “Keep On” cover below, and stick around for the original Loose Tooth version too if you like.
Milk On Milk is out 11/15 and can be pre-ordered here.