The Courtneys

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The Courtneys
OriginVancouver, BC, Canada
GenresIndie rock, indie pop
Years active2010–present
LabelsFlying Nun, Burger, Hockey Dad, Gnar Tapes
Associated actsPuberty, Shearing Pinx, Makeout Videotape, Gum Country, Tegan and Sara
MembersSydney Koke
Courtney Loove
Jen Twynn Payne

The Courtneys is a Canadian indie rock band formed in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2010. The band is composed of Sydney Koke (bass, vocals), Courtney Loove (guitar, vocals), and Jen Twynn Payne (drums, lead vocals).


Sydney Koke and Jen Twynn Payne met in their hometown of Calgary, Alberta in 2007.[1][2] After becoming housemates, Twynn Payne began learning to play drums with then-boyfriend Patrick Flegel.[3] Koke was impressed with her abilities and suggested they start a band, which became Puberty, a post-punk group with guitarist Nicole Brunel.[4][5]

Puberty disbanded when Koke enrolled in a neuroscience PhD program at Duke University.[3] Twynn Payne moved to Vancouver shortly after to play drums in Makeout Videotape. Twynn Payne and Loove met and formed a synth-pop duo called Girls in Love, which quickly disbanded.[6][7] Koke dropped out of Duke and moved to Vancouver to start a new band with Twynn Payne, who suggested they enlist Loove as the guitarist. The three jammed together for a summer before Loove moved to Montreal for a new job. After she returned eight months later,[1] they became more serious, playing their first official show in 2011 as The Courtneys at Pat’s Pub for a friend's birthday party.[8][9] The band's name is both an homage to Loove ("the most modest member of the band"[10]) as well as a clique of "cool girls" at Koke's elementary school.[7]

Their eponymous first album, The Courtneys, was intended to be a four-song EP.[11] They ran ahead of schedule and recorded more material, and completed recording, mixing, and mastering within three days.[9] It was released by Hockey Dad Records, and was quickly sold out of its initial pressing.[12]

Their second album, The Courtneys II, developed over the next three years as the band refined their songcraft, revising and refining songs as they explored "what makes an ideal structure of a song."[13] Their experimentation also affected the sound of the record; they auditioned six different mix engineers for the record,[12] and instructed their mastering engineer to make it sound "like Teenage Fanclub on Bandwagonesque."[6] The album garnered acclaim for its sound; Rolling Stone editor Rob Sheffield named it one of his top albums of 2017.[14]


Musical style[edit]

The Courtneys describe their style as "slacker pop" and "artisanal grunge;"[15] critics have categorized them as jangle-pop,[1][16] garage pop,[3][17] and surf rock.[18] They are most commonly associated with the Dunedin sound, particularly Flying Nun artists such as The Clean;[1][16] they became the first non-New Zealand band to sign with the label after thirty-five years.[19] They cite Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., and Fugazi[2][9][20] as inspirations, with Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, and Phoenix cited as particular influences on II.[21][22][23] Shoegaze has also been cited as an influence, largely due to Courtney Loove's unique open tuning.[13]

Lyrically, the band has been noted for their pop culture references. These include actors ("K.C. Reeves", about Keanu Reeves), movies and television shows (including "Lost Boys"[24] and "90210"), and other musicians (the "mandatory suicide" refrain from "Manion" is a reference to the Slayer song of the same name;[25] "Nu Sundae" is an oblique reference to Calgary band Nü Sensae).[26] The Courtneys II marked a change from the referential to the more personal; it's claimed to be "75% about crushes."[21]

Visual style[edit]

Much like their songs, their videos are often referential. Their video for "90210" is an homage to Eddy Current Suppression Ring's "Which Way to Go,"[27] while "Silver Velvet" is a remake of Bailter Space's "Splat."[28]

The band also takes a distinctive approach to marketing and merchandise. Their logo was developed for their rec baseball team (also called "The Courtneys"), whose baseball cap is visible on the cover of their first album.[6][26] They have released other unique merchandise, including an air freshener.[29]


Studio albums[edit]

The Courtneys

The Courtneys II


K.C. Reeves



  • Released: 27 December 2012
  • Format: Digital download
  • Label: Self-released

Lost Boys

Mars Attacks (feat. Young Braised)

Other appearances[edit]

CiTR Pop Alliance Compilation, Vol. 3 (CiTR compilation, limited to 300 copies)

  • Released: 5 March 2013
  • Format: LP
  • Tracks: "90210"

Shake!Fest 3


  1. ^ a b c d "Nu Sundae". Rookie. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b Bell, Steve (19 February 2015). "Why Keeping Creativity Out Of The Studio Is The Best Thing For Everyone". Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Carroll, Elle (4 April 2017). "Lo-Fi Pop Act the Courtneys Survived Vancouver's Rocky DIY Scene". Westword. Voice Media Group. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  4. ^ Valentino, Bianca (16 February 2015). "The Courtneys: Your New Favourite Band". Conversations with Bianca. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  5. ^ Swanson, Dane (7 May 2009). "Sudden Changes". The YY Scene. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Barlow, Eve (13 August 2017). "The Courtneys Are Slackers Leading by Example". Noisey. Vice. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b Phenicie, Courtney (23 April 2014). "The Courtneys are Now the Cool Clique". CincyMusic. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  8. ^ Worzalla, Wendy (1 November 2014). "The Courtneys". Eleven PDX. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b c de Boer, Alex (2 June 2013). "The Courtneys". Discorder Magazine. CiTR. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  10. ^ Way, Mish (16 May 2013). "The Courtneys Belong in the Arms of Harrison Ford". Noisey. Vice. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  11. ^ Kloke, Joshua (29 May 2014). "Sydney Koke, bassist in fuzz-pop band the Courtneys". Now. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  12. ^ a b Jessett, Elliot (5 June 2017). "Interview: The Courtneys". Coney's Loft. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b Kemp, S. Frances (16 February 2017). "Interview: The Courtneys". The Le Sigh. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  14. ^ Sheffield, Rob (20 December 2017). "Rob Sheffield's Top 20 Albums of 2017". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  15. ^ Hogg, Evangeline (4 February 2017). "The Courtneys: Effortlessly Courtneys". Discorder Magazine. CiTR. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  16. ^ a b Pelly, Jenn (27 November 2013). "Down Is Up 09: The Courtneys, Puce Mary, Hysterics". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  17. ^ Trewn, Pranav (1 February 2017). "The Courtneys - "Minnesota"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  18. ^ Rearick, Lauren (20 February 2017). "Album of the Day: The Courtneys, "II"". Bandcamp. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  19. ^ Camp, Zoe (21 November 2016). "The Courtneys Shake Out the Jangly Jams on 'Silver Velvet'". CLRVYNT. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  20. ^ Yaeger, Jackie (16 September 2014). "Band Crush: The Courtneys". Nylon. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  21. ^ a b Pelly, Jenn (25 March 2017). "The Courtneys II". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  22. ^ "The Courtneys take us on a deep dive through their new album 'The Courtneys II'". FasterLouder. Junkee Media. 20 February 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  23. ^ Atout, Alicia (18 August 2016). Interview with The Courtneys (YouTube video). A Music Blog, Yea?.
  24. ^ Edwards, Robin (5 November 2014). "The Magical Teen-Bedroom World of the Courtneys". The Stranger. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  25. ^ Rearick, Lauren (15 July 2013). "Interview: The Courtneys". The Grey Estates. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  26. ^ a b Zaillian, Charlie (1 May 2014). "Lots to love about The Courtneys". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  27. ^ Way, Mish (14 January 2013). "Watch the Courtneys' Beachy "90210" and Feel Extra Shitty About the Fact it's January". Noisey. Vice. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  28. ^ Hunt, El (16 December 2016). "The Courtneys Sugar-coat Infatuation with 'Silver Velvet'". DIY. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  29. ^ Conner, Shawn (8 July 2015). "Q&A: Courtney Loove of Vancouver band The Courtneys". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 13 January 2018.

External links[edit]