Release Date: Oct 8, 2013
Record label: What's Your Rupture?
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Parquet Courts are surfing a helluva wave right now. At the start of 2013 we knew absolutely nothing about them. Ten months later, the four twenty-somethings – brothers Max and Andrew Savage plus Austin Brown and Sean Yeaton – are the best new band in Brooklyn. It all began with the two-chord howls and whip-smart lyrics on January’s ‘Light Up Gold’ album, one of the year’s most addictive listens.
Parquet Courts’ gripping brand of lo-fi rock was first introduced to the world – unless you caught one of their early cassette tapes – on effervescent debut Light Up Gold. Released back in January, it was a fiery paean to the hazy-eyed tedium of youth, jangling with enough breakneck punk to burn away even the harshest Winter. However, as we enter the blustery auburn hinterland between Summer and Autumn, it’s beginning to feel like a lifetime since these Brooklynite agitators first appeared.
The language of Brooklyn's Parquet Courts focuses on the mundane minutiae of the everyday: Even when they’re stoned they’re not just simply starving, they’re walking around Ridgewood, Queens weighing the consequences between roasted peanuts, licorice, and Swedish Fish. Often it seems they don’t want you to take any of their shit all that seriously, either. But just like Steve Malkmus was mis-labeled the slacker king, Parquet Courts singer/guitarist Andrew Savage can sound like he’s murmuring lyrics from deep within a futon.
Brooklyn hodgepodge post-punk act Parquet Courts' 2012 debut, Light Up Gold, was met with almost across-the-board accolades and comparisons to city punk luminaries ranging from Television to the Fall to Sonic Youth. The album was a blast of gritty fresh air, with each song taking a slightly different model of experimentalism from artists who came before and molding it into something unique and fitting of the album's urban-feeling patchwork. Along with contemporaries like Protomartyr and Speedy Ortiz, Parquet Courts stood out as leaders of a new wave of bands born of the D.I.Y.
On last winter's neck-jerkingly fast Light Up Gold – one of the year's best debuts – Brooklyn's Parquet Courts sounded like apostles of Jonathan Richman and the Minutemen, mixing smart-stoner musings with turtle-jaw-tight playing. This EP is leaner and looser: "You've Got Me Wonderin' Now" is a speedy heartbreak lament underscored by kids' flute, while "Fall on Yr Face" pairs honkytonk with madman rants – like Howard Beale on karaoke night at a Tex-Mex joint. The biggest reveal is "He's Seeing Paths," a monologue about a city-speeding drug dealer, full of apartment-buzzer blips and subterranean growls.
Parquet Courts pick up where they left off a year ago, on their 2012 debut Light Up Gold, with the slicing guitars and razor-sharp smirks of this new EP. It’s as much about being a know-it-all as it is about knowing nothing, as Andrew Savage makes clear on opener “You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now”, in which he wonders over his old certainty that, say, “toothache is better than heartache.” There’s both pure wanderlust and uncertainty in “Descend (The Way)”, and “The More It Works” seems to both challenge and send-up punk ethos. These songs all work because the band’s arch humor is tempered by excellent, air-tight song-craft.
It’s not hard to figure out why three-fourths of Parquet Courts made the pilgrimage from their native Texas to New York City. Sure, Brooklyn has firmly established itself as an indie rock mecca, with more bands hanging out of windows in Williamsburg than there are people in the streets. But, beyond that, Parquet Courts’ music pays a huge debt to post-punk and New York’s rich, eclectic, and massively influential musical history.
Brooklyn punk quartet Parquet Courts are back with this five song EP, rapidly on the heels of their late spring sophomore release, Light Up Gold, which was most favorably reviewed across all media platforms. That 15-song comet metaphorically had sparks shooting out its ass. Hooky pop punk songs like “Borrowed Time,” “Yonder Is Closer to the Heart,” the thundering, feedback-washed face-melter, “Stoned and Starving,” and the rest, brought eager, and well intentioned, comparisons to scads of punk/proto players like Sonic Youth, Modern Lovers, Replacements, Pavement, the V.
Parquet Courts’ new five-song effort, Tally All the Things That You Broke, has me considering the question: how much importance to place on an EP? In the halcyon days of the record industry, an EP was usually attached to a single, a type of release tailored for already-solid fans, and featuring leftovers, B-sides, and goof-offs. But in the Internet age of short memories, it seems that every indie band—particularly those prepping a sophomore album—are inclined to release an EP as a reminder that they exist, a statement of where they’ve been and where they’re going. Gone are the days when an EP was expected to be silly and slight; now it’s an opportunity to demonstrate that an impressive debut wasn’t just a one-off and that a band can, and will, do more.