Parquet Courts - punk stock rising
A blistering show at Electric Picnic last month brought to an end four months of solid touring for Brooklyn punk rockers Parquet Courts – and they’re already back on the tour bus and heading back to Ireland
There’s a directness to Parquet Courts which marks them as somewhat different from the hordes of young groups with guitars playing familiar-feeling garage rock. For one, the vocals are mixed high and clear on their records. You can hear every word Savage and Brown are singing, a pleasant change from the usual indistinct haze. This clarity is a conscious choice.
“Maybe when you’re younger, you don’t have as much to say or you’re more selfconscious about saying what you think or what you mean because it exposes you,” says Savage. “You don’t want to have the nakedness of speaking from your heart, and I was like that too. Lyrics aren’t the main focus for every band and they shouldn’t be for every band. It doesn’t have to be like that, but it is with us. We have something that we want to say so we want to make sure people know what we’re saying.”
As well as releasing their debut album on cassette, the band have also put together two mix tapes which they’ve posted out to fans in very small numbers. The most recent one had the words “Please Share This With The Rest Of Humanity” written on it and featured a mix of the DIY underground’s best bands, including names such as Mazes, Woods and Milk Music alongside lesser-known acts like Priests and the UV Race.
There was also an unreleased track credited to “Parkay Quarts” and a phone number where you could leave a voicemail for the band. This kind of openness reflects the reputation the band have for getting up close and personal with fans at their gigs, making the experience all the more intense for all involved. For the uninitiated, the cassette would undoubtedly prove a useful entry-point to the scene Parquet Courts are coming from. This, claims Savage, was exactly the aim.
“There’s been a lot of coverage about Parquet Courts that kind of projects who people think our influences are or what kind of scene they want us in,” he says, “and it’s never really wrong, but sometimes it’s kind of a surprise to us. It’s like, that’s your opinion but it might not be exactly where we feel like we’re coming from. So it’s a way of building a portal for people who are unacquainted with the scene that we consider ourselves a part of.
“Mostly because I feel like when we get compared to a band that maybe we don’t necessarily relate to, I don’t think it’s a wrong opinion, it’s just maybe someone’s point of reference might be slightly limited. It’s kind of like us, as a band, having the right to define ourselves.”
With a band as lucid as Parquet Courts, you get a sense that self-definition will never be a problem.
yyy Parquet Courts play Whelan’s, Dublin, next Monday, October 14th