Author Topic: Parquet Courts - Human Performance  (Read 390 times)

alan nagsworth

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Parquet Courts - Human Performance
« on: April 12, 2016, 01:41:18 PM »
Gotta be more than just me and Head Gardener here who're fans of this bloody great bunch of lads.

For the uninitiated, Parquet Courts are a garage/post-(post-)punk band from New York, whose DIY punk ethics in an age of endless social media plugging is a refreshing reminder that it's still possible to do things on your own terms. They have no social media presence and they are entirely self-managed right down to gig bookings and album artwork. They're straight-talking, sharp and very smart. Andrew Savage's lyrics are superbly written no-bullshit social commentaries and the band's music is stripped back and uncomplicated, yet still managing to achieve that now-rare post-punk ethic of doing a great deal with very little. There's practically zero attention-seeking flashy antics here; the songs are repetitious and minimal, and you won't find much in the way of tricks like frenetic drum fills, or for Savage to ever raise his voice above a disgruntled half-shout, for example.

The one major foray into the wild that this band takes, however, (and boy do they do it with fucking aplomb) is their scratchy, unhinged guitar solos. Sunbathing Animal is the record where this is most prominent, with tracks like Black & White and What Colour is Blood? flying off into some mind-bending noise and then snapping abruptly back into the rigid structure that preceded it. It's these bits that makes it apparent how much they're as inspired by stuff like The Velvet Underground and no-wave music as they are by straighter bands like Gang of Four.

Sunbathing Animal was one of the best albums of 2014 and Human Performance looks to be one of 2016's high rollers, too. They're the absolute top of their game as far as that relatively minimal sound is concerned, and they're certainly one of the most consistently exciting bands I can think of right now. After my third listen, I think the back to back of One Man, No City (and its fantastic midsection and extremely bare-bones drums) and Berlin Got Blurry are my highlights.

Berlin Got Blurry

A couple more bits here. First, this track from Content Nausea which is the most brilliantly astute critique of the death of punk values I think I've ever heard. The lyrics to this track give me fucking chills:

Pretty Machines

Lastly, I wanna share this because I think it's immensely cool. I was staying in Brooklyn a couple months ago and I clocked this amazing big mural promoting the new record. I guess it's pretty cheesy to say, but standing there in NYC and witnessing their art first hand and feeling like I was a part of it was awesome to me:



Everyone go listen to this band they're the fucking tits.

non capisco

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Re: Parquet Courts - Human Performance
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2016, 01:57:06 PM »
I absolutely love Dust. That song is as cool as fuck. Destined to become my new flat cleaning anthem. Outside, Berlin Got Blurry and One Man, One City off the newie are all bangers as well. The title track and Already Dead as well, come to think of it. And Steady On My Mind could have come straight off the third Velvet Underground album. Yeah, it's a strong 'un.

Have dug Parquet Courts ever since I first heard Stoned & Starving, a song with the kind of instantly amazing riff you're in disbelief has never existed before. And the micro-pause between Master Of My Craft and Borrowed Time on 'Light Up Gold' still makes me grin like an idiot. Unfortunately the only time I saw them live, round about the time they'd put out Tally All You Things You Broke,  they must have been on something of an off-night. They were pretty jetlagged and listless.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 02:27:51 PM by non capisco »

Crabwalk

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Re: Parquet Courts - Human Performance
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2016, 09:10:33 PM »
They were good when I saw them a couple of years back, and they engaged in some of the snarkiest 'tween song chat I've witnessed.

Which I heartily endorse.

Not heard the new one yet, but it was love at first listen when 'Light Up Gold' came out.

non capisco

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Re: Parquet Courts - Human Performance
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2016, 10:40:40 PM »
They were good when I saw them a couple of years back, and they engaged in some of the snarkiest 'tween song chat I've witnessed.

I think I must have caught them on an off night, although Serge thought they were pony live when they played in Rough Trade and he's a fan of their records. I'd def be up for giving them another go based on the newie though. Just cannot get enough of Dust at the moment. "Dust is everywhere....sweep!"

Crabwalk

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Re: Parquet Courts - Human Performance
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2016, 09:52:45 AM »
Serge doesn't like live music anyway, the bearded maniac.

The new one sounds good on first listen. Even more Modern Lovers-esque than the earlier stuff.

Re: Parquet Courts - Human Performance
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2016, 06:57:10 PM »
i noticed today that the back vocals (or talking) on dust sound just like H Jon Benjamin. Check it out!

Serge

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Re: Parquet Courts - Human Performance
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2016, 07:22:33 PM »
Serge doesn't like live music anyway, the bearded maniac.

Ha! Quite ironic that I recently had something published (in an anthology about Rough Trade) extolling the greatness of the instores. I'll have to quickly whack out a paperback called 'Live Music Is Shit' or something.

Parquet Courts were very ropy when they played at the shop, though in their defence, they were jetlagged and had come straight to the shop from the airport and didn't even get a chance for a quick soundcheck. They are great, and I admire their production rate - this is their fourth or fifth album in about three years, isn't it? maybe it'll inspire The Soft Pack to pull their finger out.