Release Date: Jan 15, 2013
Record label: What's Your Rupture?
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Noise Pop
One of a few terrific new bands from the New York area (see also: Home Blitz and Household), Parquet Courts have produced a debut that's both instantly addictive and lastingly rewarding: a smart, snappy concoction of worldly wisdom and garage-rock gratification. Echoes of the Modern Lovers and the Feelies can be heard in their tightrope walk between two-chord fundamentals and lively detail, while Austin Brown and Andrew Savage's narratives run the personal, political and philosophical gamut in a similar way to that which made Eddy Current Suppression Ring so special. From Borrowed Time's zippy lament on boredom and inspiration to Stoned and Starving's improbably poetic lunch hunt, it's an ultra-catchy, sharp-witted marvel throughout.
"I mastered my craft," Parquet Courts' Austin Brown boasts on their debut. And you gotta hand it to him: The Brooklyn-via-Texas band makes near-perfect post-college rock, merging sharp, twitchy post-punk (Wire, The Fall, Gang of Four, The Feelies) and sweet, slovenly early-Nineties indie rock (Pavement, Sebadoh), while nailing all the right 24-or-so themes – not knowing what to do with your life ("Borrowed Time," "Careers in Combat"), not being as smart as you thought you were ("No Ideas"), realizing the world is much bigger and weirder than you'd previously imagined ("N. Dakota").
Let’s get this out of the way nice and early: ‘Light Up Gold’ is one of the best debut albums you’ll hear all year. Its makers – four New York-via-Texas college dropouts – just know. They know that the essence of great rock music lies in the attitude you apply to your songs when writing them, and the venom you coax out when recording them.
Passionate slackers Parquet Courts are from the same crew of Texas-to-Brooklyn transplants responsible for the Zappa-esque genre-bending conceptual weirdness of Fergus & Geronimo as well as the more straightforward basement pop-punk of Teenage Cool Kids. Songwriter Andrew Savage is clearly a prolific and multifaceted character, but with Parquet Courts, he taps into a focus and sense of mood cultivation missing in some of his other projects. Savage and fellow songwriter Austin Brown present a series of observational freeze-frames on debut album Light Up Gold, zeroing in on banal scenes, everyday events, and listless pondering during drifting times.
Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold[Dull Tools/What's Your Rupture?; 2012/2013]By Joshua Pickard; January 22, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGBrevity and Rock N’ Roll have always gone hand in hand. Get in, get out. Say what you have to say and get the hell out of town. There are exceptions of course, quite a few in fact.
While Brooklyn is indisputably at the heart of US rock’s indie vanguard, Parquet Courts would be at pains to stress that they have no part in any sort of scene or motion. The four-piece may have made Brooklyn their home, by way of their native Texas, but they are not a band to be defined by their environment and the connotations that go with it. Parquet Courts are anti-stylised and ultra DIY.
If you ever wondered how much a simple promo picture can really tell you about a band’s music, let’s look in the case of Parquet Courts. I’ve been following coverage of this band for a few months now, and nearly every story I’ve encountered on the group features the same telling, unflattering picture of the band. The image itself is quite simple: A black and white shot of four dudes, two sitting calmly in the back, two others scarfing down a couple of fast food tacos or something similarly junky.
The cover of Parquet Courts' second album depicts a cowboy on a bucking steer, but the music is more New York post-punk than Southern rodeo. That means Television- and Sonic Youth-influenced bare-bones percussion, skittering guitars and a touch of Krautrock, all played with a sense of urgency. Light Up Gold, which originally came out in August and was just re-released by What's Your Rupture?, is an economical introduction to the Brooklyn-via-Texas group, whose first album was only available on cassette.
Parquet Courts are high as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. Stoned, starving, and maybe just a little bit irritable, they're approached by a clipboard-carrying do-gooder seeking donations. "'A minute of YOUR time?'," they ask co-frontman Austin Brown, who quickly sends Mr. Greenpeace off with a snide-beyond-belief "for-GET about it" and a (questionably apropos) reminder that Socrates died in the fucking gutter.
What starts off like a Dead Kennedys album on mescaline, ends like a warped Big Star 7? single. That’s Parquet Courts for you: bratty, messy, loud, and full of heart. On their second full-length, Light Up Gold, Texas transplants Austin Brown and Andrew Savage discover America through the eyes of a beatnik slacker, who says shitty things (“People die I don’t care, you should see the wall of ambivalence I’m building”) yet speaks of acidic truths two steps later (“Death to all false profits around here we praise a dollar you fuckin hippie”).
For the woefully unemployed and perennially couch surfing, the term “slacker” is badge of shame slapped on by frustrated parents. For Pavement-worshipping music critics, it’s a catchall for a mix of loosey-goosey melodies; lo-fi recording; and crisp, jangly guitars. For Parquet Courts, it’s a sweeping worldview, and their debut record, Light Up Gold, is their manifesto.
Like Eddie Argos on Art Brut's ridiculously fun debut, Parquet Courts' Austin Brown and Andrew Savage revel in delivering social commentary masquerading as wise-assery. Granted, that commentary generally revolves around the social life (sex, drugs and food) of your average 20-something. Raised in Texas, but based in Brooklyn, NY, the quartet boast the Modern Lovers garage howl of many of their Lone Star State contemporaries, such as Harlem, but blend the fuzzy buzz with rough-around-the-edges post-punk.
This Brooklyn-based band of former Texans named after the floor on which the Boston Celtics play basketball released their debut album exclusively on cassette in 2011. Despite that willfully limiting strategy, the band found enough of an audience to put out a second record, Light Up Gold, in the summer of 2012, and now What’s Your Rupture has picked up the album and is giving it a more thorough release. The band’s jagged indie-rock sound is mixed with elements of punk and hints of Americana, and is tied together by vocalist Andrew Savage’s sardonic lyrics and oddball delivery.
‘Light Up Gold’ is an album about needs and wants. Not material things, necessarily. Not love or whatever our definition of happiness might be. Just something. ‘Light up gold was the colour of something I was looking for’ goes the refrain in the record’s title track. ‘Stoned And ….
Andrew Savage might be familiar: He's spent quite a bit of time playing with the fidgety, quippy, Denton rockers Fergus & Geronimo. A couple of years ago he moved to Brooklyn, hooked up with Austin Brown, and made Light Up Gold as Parquet Courts. It's a Fergus-bred mainline of smarts, savvy, and soul-skimming honesty, like the deficient nutritional livelihood of making Swedish Fish a dinner ("Stoned and Starving"), or resigning to the fact that you'll never be able to articulate yourself ("No Ideas").
On paper, there’s almost nothing to Parquet Courts to get excited about. They’re a lo-fi indie punk band from Brooklyn. Great. Exactly what the world needs. Yet what they lack in originality they make up for in abundance by not giving a single hoot about originality. More so than actually ….
Parquet Courts Droll Brooklyn Post-Punk “Light Up Gold” (What’s Your Rupture?), the debut album by Parquet Courts, starts out jittery and never settles down. “I was walking through Ridgewood, Queens/I was flipping through magazines/I was so stoned and starving,” Andrew Savage rambles on “Stoned and Starving,” a dry-wit post-punk number that could almost pass for a novelty song. That careful balance is on display throughout this album, heavy with bubbling, bulbous guitars by way of Wire, the singing and songwriting mostly split between Austin Brown and Mr.
Parquet Courts have made significant waves since the original release of Light Up Gold on their own Dull Tools imprint last August. The Brooklyn-by-Texas post-punks made strong impressions through a variety of CMJ-week appearances in October, launched their first U.S. tour and have now re-released last year’s debut LP on What’s Your Rupture?, helping catch up those who slept on this missed gem.