Certain Songs #1429: Parquet Courts – “Freebird II”

Album: Wide Awake!
Year: 2018

Well, one thing seems certain now: every couple of years, Parquet Courts will release an album that is more varied and multifaceted than the previous one, while not abandoning their roots as a drony punk band, and that album will be their best one yet.

Or at least that’s what it seems like right now, in the wake of 2018’s Danger Mouse produced Wide Awake! their most playful — and I think, best — album yet, as they add reggae and funk rhythms to their sonic palette. The upshot is an album where anything can happen at anytime, and actually does.

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Certain Songs #1428: Parquet Courts – “One Man, No City”

Album: Human Performance
Year: 2016

One of the cool things about Parquet Courts is that you can hear them mature, album after album, while still not fully deviating from their two-guitar drone-rock power source.

So if 2014’s Sunbathing Animal found them going back to The Velvet Underground for formal inspiration on a song like “Instant Disassembly,” by 2016, the Velvets were more of a jumping-off point, and one of many on songs like “Human Performance,” “Berlin Got Blurry,” and “One Man, No City,” the third straight time my favorite song on a Parquet Courts album was the longest, jammiest song.

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Certain Songs #1427: Parquet Courts – “Instant Disassembly”

Album: Sunbathing Animal
Year: 2014

After an EP in 2013 which they released under the moniker Parkay Quarts, for reasons, Parquet Courts issued their full-length follow-up to Light Up GoldSunbathing Animal — in the middle of 2014.

In was on Sunbathing Animal where the primary influence behind the influences of Light Up Gold came more to the forefront. I’m talking of course, about The Velvet Underground, still freaking young people out with endless possibilities a half-century later.

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Certain Songs #1426: Parquet Courts – “Stoned and Starving”

Album: Light Up Gold
Year: 2013

One of the best American indie bands of this decade, Parquet Courts manage to combine the off-kilter two-guitar attack of Pavement, the “anything can be a song” aesthetic of Guided by Voices and the drive of the early Dream Syndicate into something new, original, and a helluva lot of fun.

After an initial cassette-only release in 2011, they made a big splash in certain circles — circles where the aforementioned names were big — with Light Up Gold, a record where nearly all of the songs were under three minutes long and ended just where they needed to.

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Certain Songs #1425: The Pale Fountains – “Jean’s Not Happening”

Album: …From Across The Kitchen Table
Year: 1985

One of those mid-1980s U.K. bands who could stand in as ersatz Smiths for people who either a) couldn’t stand Morrissey, b) loved their sound and wanted more or c) both, The Pale Fountains made two records: 1984’s Pacific Street and 1985’s …From Across The Kitchen Table.

If you’ve never heard them or can’t remember them, it’s alright: neither album was released here in the Colonies, and in fact, I’d never even heard of — or more likely forgot about — Pacific Street until I started writing this post, but somehow in early 1986, …From Across The Kitchen Table made it to KFSR, and with it, the stunning “Jean’s Not Happening,” an absolutely essential proto-Britpop single.

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