Weekly Concert Preview: Punk rock band Parquet Courts coming to light up the Black Cat
It’s hard to think of a New York band that has received more hype than Parquet Courts, a punk rock group known for their catchy garage band sound and sharply intelligent lyrics. The group is coming to the Black Cat this Friday, Feb. 22.
Parquet Courts’ electrifying debut, Light Up Gold, is packed with technically proficient and compelling songs that explore what it’s like to be, well, an artistic Brooklynite in your twenties. Parquet Courts’ first debut effort received little attention. American Specialties was only four tracks and released exclusively on cassette tape. Since this unsuccessful release, however, the New York based-band preserved its initial punk rock style, but the lyrics evolved and progressed. Parquet Courts released Light Up Gold a year later and it was a major success. Critics consider the group to be one of the few terrific new bands from New York, joining fans eagerly waiting for any future album release.
The band is a quartet made up of two guitarists, a bassist and drummer. Andrew Savage, who has played in Fergus & Geronimo and Teenage Cool Kids, met fellow singer/ guitarist in his home state of Texas during college. Together, the two friends moved to New York City along with Savage’s brother, Max, and bassist Sean Yeaton. Although Parquet Courts’ lead singer, Andrew Savage, is often questioned about what influence his home state has on the band, he is quick to say that he has a greater connection with New York and that the band’s ethos itself it born out of that connection. “You don’t get to where you are now without being from somewhere,” he says, and adds, that his new record is “all where we are now.”
Grounded in the present, then, the band has crafted a sharply witted album that touches on relatable themes of youth and struggle. The repetitive and catchy rhythms in each song immediately grab the listener’s attention, but what is doubly impressive is the intelligence and humor put into the lyrics—highly quotable, their songs include such fresh one-liners as “It’s a pretty long walk to the DMV” and “At night we hum to Canada snoring.”
Savage says, “Our music draws from the idea that words should be important and music should come around them.” “Borrowed Time” demonstrates both the skill required to perform the addictive, fast-paced rhythms, and the clever lyrics. The song is instantly captivating because of the beat, but with each re-listen, the creativity of the lyrics becomes more apparent. The song also has two false endings where the song pauses for a couple seconds before rushing back into the same riff and beat. These pauses add an element of surprise in addition to satisfaction once the song resumes.
Most of the songs are short and to the point, never exceeding three minutes. Similar to those of other punk rock bands, the lyrics are shouted rather than sung in conventional terms, and Savage delivers each line with ferocious spirit. The exception to the typical short length of Parquet Courts’ songs is “Stoned and Starving,” which features intricate guitar solos that are definitely worth listening to. A testament to the effort Savage puts into his lyrics, the song manages to make a stoned pursuit for Swedish Fish, Roasted Peanuts, and licorice sound poetic. If that’s not persuasion enough for college students, it’s hard to say what is.
Parquet Courts will be performing at the Black Cat this Friday at 9 p.m. alongside Roomrunner and the Foul Swoops. Tickets are $12.
Photo: Lam Thuy Vo via Flickr