Parquet Courts are stoners. Make no mistake about that. The Brooklyn-based quartet don’t mind that press outlets have focused on this not-so-secret fact, revealed in song titles like, “Stoned and Starving,” “Donuts Only” and “Yr No Stoner,” on the band’s excellent “Light Up Gold” album from earlier this year. But what bugs the band is when people throw around the term slacker.
“I think it’s kind of a romantic image to conjure up this view of us as these vagabond stoner/slacker dudes just traversing the U.S. and just barely scraping by,” says singer and guitarist Andrew Savage. “But the slacker thing really gets on my nerves because it kind of implies that we don’t work very hard, when in reality, this is one of the hardest working bands I’ve ever seen. We work extremely hard and as prolific as I am, I don’t think that the slacker title is appropriate.”
“Light Up Gold” showcases that prolific work ethic, as the 15 songs bleed together in an exhilarating punk rush of 35 minutes. Twin trebled guitars sound like woven rays of sun as the rhythm section sounds like a dinosaur rooting through your parents’ garage. Savage’s words are sometimes silly and often narrative, with a novelist’s eye for detail. Parquet Courts jam, but never noodle. This is indie rock the way it used to be.
“People’s curiosity has waned and they stopped kind of digging for stuff like that,” says Savage when we bring up the dearth of current bands who draw from the likes of Pavement and Guided by Voices. “But I don’t think it stopped. I think it just stopped being presented to people in the way that it was and the mainstream top 40 indie, to me it resembles kind of more easy listening and commercial pop music, so it’s not coming through the same venues but it never stopped.”
Savage says gaining recognition has been a bit of a double-edged sword, but he’s learned to dull down one of those edges.
“As you get more popular, a domino effect starts to happen,” he says. “You get people that maybe compare you to bands that you might not be as interested in. When we started getting more press, people started comparing us to stuff like The Strokes, which I didn’t agree with, but that doesn’t mean that they were wrong. It just means that they’re coming from a different musical background than maybe some of the earlier fans or even me.So at first I was a little bewildered and I’d be like ‘No, they’re not getting it!’ but they are getting it, they’re just kind of getting it in a different context that they see us in. It’s not up to us to tell them that they’re wrong. We’ve just got to do what we do. People are going to decide for themselves, they’ll make their own comparisons.”