Release Date: Dec 2, 2014
Record label: What's Your Rupture?
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Noise Pop
Over the past few years, Austin Brown and Andrew Savage have been nothing if not prolific. As part of bratty New York neo-punks Parquet Courts, they’ve rapidly built up a sizable back catalogue, releasing at least an EP’s worth of material every year since unveiling their little-spoken-of, seldom-heard debut album proper, American Specialties, in 2011. And still, as we enter the dog-end of 2014, it seems that their voracious appetite to record cannot be satisfied.
Remember when bands used to release an album a year? OK, with the current artist cycle of album, promotion and tour, most of us probably don’t, but it has that romantic, independent feel doesn’t it? That fresh and exhilarating sensation of a band with too many ideas to contain, recording things as soon they come to them. And Parquet Courts/Parkay Quarts (whatever they’re calling themselves as you read this) are keeping that DIY philosophy going. ‘Content Nausea’ is the band’s second release of 2014 after the excellent ‘Sunbathing Animal’.
Pop history is full of instances of bands creating new identities to free themselves from the imagined strictures of their old ones. The Beatles had Sgt. Pepper’s; Prince had Camille; Beyoncé had Sasha Fierce; Garth Brooks had Chris Gaines. Parkay Quarts have been billed as an “alter-ego” of the smart, scrappy punk band Parquet Courts, but the term seems off: While “alter-ego” implies a different side of the same person—Superman to Clark Kent—Parkay Quarts are effectively Parquet Courts’ two frontmen and principal songwriters, Austin Brown and Andrew Savage, filled out with help from assorted friends, including Jackie-O Motherfucker’s Jef Brown and Bob Jones, from the band Eaters.
Parkay Quarts is not a typo. It is, in fact, the alter-ego of the increasingly prolific New York punks Parquet Courts—albeit this time without the full compliment of band mates, retaining only chief songwriters/vocalists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown..
Head here to submit your own review of this album. That Parkay Quartz sound a lot like Parquet Courts, don't they? But then again, maybe they don't. Content Nausea by Parkay Quartz is, of course, Parquet Courts' fourth studio album since 2011 and their second this year. Their rule of productivity seeming to follow the rule that you should make hay whilst the sun shines and Parquet Courts (or whatever you want to call them) are on shit-hot form right now.
Who are Parkay Quarts and what have they done with the real Parquet Courts? Featuring half of the New York quartet’s regular lineup (drummer Max Savage and bassist Sean Yeaton are absent, completing a maths degree and starting a family, respectively), they describe this incarnation as an “alter ego”, and that feels about right. This collection – released less than six months after third album ‘Sunbathing Animal’ and recorded, mixed and mastered in two weeks – takes ideas expressed and hinted at on their previous releases, and follows them somewhere altogether freakier. Primarily the work of guitarists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, with guest musicians including Jackie-O Motherfucker’s Jef Brown on saxophone and Eaters’ Bob Jones on the fiddle, ‘Content Nausea’ sounds like a sonic playground where the duo able to indulge some of their wilder impulses.
Much like other musicians in the post-punk and alternative rock vein from which they come, Parquet Courts aim to be as cryptic and distant as artistically possible. This is why their music seems descended from decades-old D.I.Y. and lo-fi progenitors. This is why, in 2014, the band still don’t maintain any social media presence.
Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage and Austin Brown weren't content with only releasing one great album in 2014, and are back as Parkay Quarts with a brand new collection of songs. Not necessarily a huge departure from their original band's sound, Content Nausea continues to expand the band's garage-rock and post-punk aesthetic, while offering an outlet for Savage and Brown to flex their songwriting muscles. Spoken word short story "The Map" is a great exploration of adult anxiety, with opening line "You'll be uncomfortable 40 percent of the time at the gates of adulthood" appropriately exposing the plight of the early-30s songwriters.
Not even six months after the arrival of their dazzling third album Sunbathing Animal, New York's brainy clatter-rock collective Parquet Courts quickly re-emerged with album-length art rock tirade Content Nausea. Released under the mixed-up but identically pronounced moniker Parkay Quarts, this isn't the first time the band has blurted out a stylistically divergent slab of jumbled weirdness. Following 2012's Light Up Gold, this evil twin version of the band showed up in 2013 with an EP entitled Tally All the Things That You Broke that let loose with more uninhibited forays into shambling punk and robotic vamps.
Parquet Courts’ abstaining from social media is an anomaly. So much so, in fact, that they made headlines with it earlier this year after an interview with The Guardian. It’s a strange choice to pin on the band. For all their hypnotic droning guitars and biting wit, their lack of “social presence” is arguably the least interesting thing about them, especially when they seem so socially present.
The art-punk dudes in Parquet Courts have already chalked up one of 2014's kickiest guitar LPs, Sunbathing Animal. Why slow down now? They banged this one out in about two weeks, as the alter ego Parkay Quarts. The title tune is their high-speed manifesto against click bait and comment sections: "Content, that's what you call it/An infant screaming in every room in your gut." They do a sincere version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," as well as the 13th Floor Elevators' lost hippie classic "Slide Machine." And "Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth" is demented Highway 61 grandeur.
If any of the Pavement-inspired indie bands out there have outgrown the comparison, it’s Parquet Courts. While contemporaries struggle to find identity beyond their influences, the New York-quartet manages to flaunt them like they’ve never been in style. What’s more, after fronting three unique, semi-successful bands, people are finally taking notice of the understated brilliance of Andrew Savage’s songwriting.
opinion byDERRICK ROSSIGNOL In January 2014, four Brooklynites collectively known as Parquet Courts made their network television debut on Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night” during the host’s final weeks before making the leap to “The Tonight Show. ” Sporting thrift store sweaters and equally marked-down haircuts, the band tore through a breakneck performance of “Stoned and Starving,” a highlight from 2012’s Light Up Gold that Fallon introduced as Rolling Stone’s sixth-ranked single of 2013 and in which the group describes “debating Swedish Fish, roasted peanuts or licorice. ” Parquet Courts related to the crowd with appetite-fueled, feedback-accented, neo-punk slackadelia, so long as viewers also had a major case of the munchies.
You know you’re on a roll when you make not one, but two great records within a year. Parquet Courts, an indie-rock quartet from New York, put out “Sunbathing Animal” in June, and now comes “Content Nausea.” Released under the tweaked name of Parkay Quarts, it mostly features the work of lead vocalists and songwriters Andrew Savage and Austin Brown. The 12 songs are untamed thrill rides that recall some of New York’s rock innovators, particularly Lou Reed and Television.
It's already been a big year for Brooklyn's Parquet Courts. The brash post-punk foursome released their excellent third album, Sunbathing Animal, and joined up with psych band PC Worship to form PCPC, who went on to open a string of Thurston Moore dates. To finish off the year, college buddies turned co-vocalists/guitarists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown have a new band to add to their swelling list of side projects: Parkay Quarts.
It’s been interesting to watch the rise of New York City’s Parquet Courts (and all of their various guises, of which this “Parkay Quarts” is one). I knew they were on to something when my fortysomething cousin called me from Colorado and asked, “Do you know this band with this song where they mention your neighborhood? I really like it.” He’d heard Stoned and Starving (from their breakthrough 2013 album Light Up Gold) on satellite radio, and the song immediately clicked, as it had for thousands of previous listeners. Parquet Courts have emerged as the standard-bearers for Brooklyn indie rock, but don’t fault them for their unfortunate timing.