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On Deck: Parquet Courts

By ; December 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM 

On Deck is a column dedicated to giving artists some room to talk about what they’re currently listening to and to explore some of their favorite and most influential records.

Having released their official/unofficial debut American Specialties as a cassette-only album last year, Parquet Courts left their fans wanting for a proper debut, as well as a new set of songs that continued the sounds from those early 4-track recordings.  Thankfully, the band was more than up to the task, as their newest record Light Up Gold continues the sharply played, brash post-punk-ish indie rock that was first put on display on their debut (albeit in a much more lo-fi form).  Their latest album was recorded over the course of just a few days in an ice-box practice space and feels indebted to pioneering bands like The Fall and Sonic Youth as well as more recent peers like Tyvek and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.  Having released Light Up Gold on their own Dull Tools label earlier this year, the album will see a proper release on New York-based What’s Your Rupture on January 15th.  Taking time before the band heads out on another tour, singer/guitarist Andrew Savage talks about some of his favorite records in the latest installment of On Deck.

Neil Young – Zuma (Reprise)

This is the type of really sad record that people forgot how to make, mostly because people forgot how to express sadness without being melodramatic.  Neil Young is such a great songwriter because he doesn’t cheapen his emotions with hyperbole.  “Lookin’ for a Love” and “Barstool Blues” might be my favorite back-to-back songs on any record.  Total loner anthems.  Lyrical topics include love, imperialism and depression, and represent some of his best (in my opinion).  This record works great in the morning, but also for when you stumble in drunk in the wee hours and want to fall asleep to something.

Skrewdriver – All Skrewed Up (Chiswick)

It’s a real shame that Ian Curtis became a white nationalist and ruined the legacy of what could have been one the greatest punk bands.  No surprise, his recruitment of new members and descent into hatred occurs at the same time that the band starts to sound really shitty.  But “All Skrewed Up”, their first LP, is one of the best punk records of the 1970’s.  “I Don’t Need Your Love” sounds like an old garage cut from the 1960’s gone sour– which makes sense because Curtis started his music career doing Stones cover sets.  There’s also a Who cover on this record, which is surprising, but makes for a great pub-rock singalong.  Most fans of this record are somewhat closeted due to Curtis’ politics.  No one seems to give sports teams any flack for playing “Rock N’ Roll Pt. 2” in their stadiums.  My point?  Even unsavory people can be inspiring artists.  From start to finish, a solid piece of rock music.

Brian Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy) (Island)

The first time I smoked DMT I listened to the titular track of this masterpiece.  I was taken back to farm scenes of feudal Japan, composed of lite-brite units of energy.  Eventually a dragon goddess told me a story using a collapsing jigsaw chess set, from which I was taught lessons I had been waiting my whole life to learn, but almost instantly forgot.  After we were done tripping, we started the record back over and went in for more.  This record is Eno’s magnum opus, and goes great with coffee on a bright morning.

Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud)

Some records just sound like the places they originate from.  I live in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, not too far from the block where Dirty and other members of the Wu grew up, and this album has changed greatly for me since moving here.  Much like the way Manhattan sounds like Gershwin, Brooklyn sounds like this record.  The lyrical delivery on these tracks…  There is also a mural of “Return to the 36 Chambers” painted on the corner of Franklin and Putnam, check it out!

Yoko Ono – Plastic Ono Band (Apple)

One hell of a record made by a truly powerful woman.  This record came out at the same time as Lennon’s much lauded “Plastic Ono Band” LP, which topped the charts with “Mother”.  A great album in it’s own right, to be sure, but I reach out for Yoko’s record more often than I do John’s (which can be tricky, because the jackets look so similar).  The lineup is like something out of a bizarre record nerd fantasy league: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden.  “Plastic Ono Band” has all the elements of great psychedelia (although most would not classify it as such): repetition, improvisation and an other-worldly vocal performance.

What’s Your Rupture? will be reissuing Parquet  Courts’ first proper debut album Light Up Gold on January 15th.   Listen to the album in its entirety on their bandcamp site.

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