Parquet Courts :: Captive Of The Sun

The New York City-based Texans of Parquet Courts have been responsible for some of the best post-punk rock & roll of the last half-decade. Coupling Wire and Silver Jews-style riffs with Reed and Richman cadences,  songwriters Andrew Savage and Austin Brown are among the  wittiest  observationalists  working in the indie rock landscape.

They've also proved themselves an ambitious bunch. Starting with  their excellent debut,  Light Up Gold,  the band's stayed on an artistically restless tear: Sunbathing Animal  found ways to sweat more soul out of their  taut framework; Content Nausea found Brown and Savage getting loose;  Monastic Living  was wild and improvisational.

The band's latest, Human Performance,  is their boldest, most confident record yet. It's a big record, tackling big themes and employing big sounds,  but specific too. Forgive the hyperbole, but it's like the band's London Calling or Green or Double Nickels on the Dime, the  sound of a young band challenging itself, opening up, and creating the most personal record it could, cracking the format open and  solidifying what makes the band tick.

Recorded over multiple sessions, at  Sonelab in Western Massachusetts, at the Wilco Loft in Chicago, and at the Dreamland Studios in upstate New York, a former Pentecostal church which doubled as the band's lodging while recording, Human Performance  is the result of more time, editing, and creative pushing than anything the band has ever put to tape.

“This was a different process by design," Brown says over the phone from Marfa, Texas, where the band played the Marfa Myths  festival alongside experimental composer  William Basinski, Fred and Toody of Dead Moon, Heron Oblivion, and other heady peers. "We wanted to get different results. Just all around, we wanted to make it as different as we could.”

The band succeeded. "Berlin Got Blurry" incorporates a newfound  cowpunk twang, "I Was Just Here" lurches with punk funk swagger, and the title track is the most affecting thing the group's ever released. But the song most out of left field is "Captive of the Sun," incorporating hip-hop influences and dense, layered production.

For Brown, the song represented something crucial. Though he  wrote it as a "typical" Parquet Courts song, a "fast, screaming" punk rock thing, he wasn't satisfied by it. In fact, the song upset him. He kept thinking, "I don’t hear any of myself in this song." The thought persisted: "I’m not getting anything out of this."

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