Parquet Courts, American Specialties

Luke Carrell

Listening on:
A Library of Congress Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped tape player produced by ROINN. It is a yellow beige color.
The band:
Parquet Courts is a four-piece band based in Brooklyn, NY with ties to Fergus & Geronimo, Wiccans, Teenage Cool Kids and the notoriously large state of Texas. American Specialties is their first official release.
The music:
While the oblique lyrics, abundant guitar riffing, and feedback can call to mind any number of incestuous indie rock touchpoints, the band insists on unexpected and often dissonant touches. American Specialties is guitar-centric, with the interplay between the rhythmic parts and the non-traditional leads making for some of the most interesting moments. There’s also a recurring emphasis on the recorder and crafty digital synth melodies that seem to creep in from the edges. It all accumulates to create a sense of genuine, freewheeling teamwork that’s refreshing, and there is a sense of fun about it that keeps the collage of styles from feeling contrived. Parquet Courts is definitely a band that’s more into writing songs and making them what they’re supposed to be than finding a solid, dogmatic sound.
How it sounds:
The tape predictably translates much better to headphones than the lonely mono speaker, though I can imagine this would be excellent in a Walkman-type situation. The stylistic and instrumental variation here makes it ideal for long walks or commuter-type situations that could do with a little spicing up. The tape seems to level out the high end peaks of some of the recordings. Likewise, the tape seems to provide a nice environment for the varied recording styles, swapping vocalists, and general shenanigans.
The full package:
The packaging is styled like an old Chinese food takeout menu. It’s done so well that it weren’t cassette tape sized, it could totally pass for one that had been moldering behind a bar counter for a few years. It even smells a tiny bit like Chinese food, though that may be the tape player.
Listening:
“Her Boyfriend’s Band” has a simple structure and a serious hook.

Her Boyfriend's Band by Parquet Courts

“Other Desert Cities” is an imaginary conversation between two tempos with the same bad attitude.

Other Desert Cities by Parquet Courts

American Specialties is now available from Night Moves.

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