It would be a bit too easy to call the Texas-bred/Brooklyn-lbased punk rockers Parquet Courts “slackers.” There aren’t too many slackers with the drive to put out two separate full-length records six months apart from each other. We can’t really classify them as “hard to understand,” either. They’re descendants of a lineage that can be traced back to NYC punk legends of yore, from The Modern Lovers to Talking Heads. So, what happens when we can’t easily pigeonhole a rock band in 2015, one with such heavy hype and respect from our commonly accepted tastemakers?
Well, that seems to be the big question going into Thursday night at Exit/In, with what promises to be a hefty crowd anxiously awaiting to see what these guys can do on their first non-Jack White sponsored Nashville date. Parquet Courts have been embarked on a tour of the Southeast for the past couple of weeks now, enlisting opening help from various regional acts. For tonight’s date, the band will be ushered onto the stage following sets from burgeoning local dark rockers Churchyard and the Memphis barnstormers Nots.
When it comes to reasons as to why you should make this show the main act on your Thursday night agenda, just know that these guys are one of the most heavily acclaimed new rock groups of the past several years. Hastily tapped by several outlets as the “last great NYC rock band” (probably because music journalists have been inorganically trying to perpetuate that scene’s comeback for so long, ever since The Strokes flew too close to the sun and Interpol and TV On The Radio aged into their roles as second-act dad rockers), Parquet Courts are a bit more interesting than the labels might suggest.
I first remember hearing the name when the program director at my college radio station went bananas over the band’s breakout 2012 LP, Light Up Gold. Personally speaking, I didn’t find their music to be all that appealing. Surely I understood why their high-wire bursts of jagged guitar interplay and their acerbic songwriting had garnered them such a dedicated fanbase so quickly, but I wasn’t sold until last year’s excellent Sunbathing Animal. A pastiche of classic rock sounds as much as it was an embrace of their modern “cool” factor, Sunbathing Animal solidified the band as one to watch. It didn’t hurt that the band’s founders would release the similarly exciting Content Nausea just months later, under the bulletproof alias Parkay Quarts.
In turn, the band have found themselves constantly booked for much of the past twelve months, from festivals worldwide to a Letterman performance that left Dave offering to manage the band along with his bandleader Paul Shaffer. Their full lengths have caught the attention of everyone from the prerequisite tastemakers at Pitchfork to notoriously stingy old man Robert Christgau. Everyone that I’ve talked to that has had the chance to catch them live highly recommends them, for their adoption of ‘80s post-punk and their ability to translate such a rigorous and highly regarded sound into something completely of this time. I’m intrigued to see how their act goes over at one of the best rock clubs in town, a place that’s hosted so many of their obvious influences and will likely host many acts that they themselves inspired.