Admittedly, I am a wee bit late to the Parquet (pronounced PAR-kay… yes, like the margarine) Courts train. Their debut, Light Up Gold, released in August of last year on frontman Andrew Savage’s own imprint Dull Tools, so I suppose it could be a bit worse concerning my tardiness, right? Light Up Gold, with each listen, continues to grow on me more and more. Andrew Savage’s hearty vocals (along with his guitar playing), along Austin Brown’s guitar, gives the entirety of the album a façade that immediately catches your ear. (Oh, and a fun fact: these two originally met at the University of North Texas which is in my territory!) Sean Yeaton’s thick bass rounds out the guitars’ treble nicely, and Max Savage’s energetic drumming give all the songs the support they need. With the whole album rounding out at about half an hour and some, those who lack patience in regards to listening through an album will be especially pleased. The longest song on here, “Stoned and Starving,” clocks in at 5:12. Andrew Savage colorful lyricism talks about everything from Socrates dying in the gutter in “Master of My Craft” to coffee and toothpaste in the succinct “N Dakota.” If you’re looking for some lively noise and energetic post-punk, this album is just for you.

Oh, and a tidbit before I leave you be: The first pressing of 500 contained 100 golden vinyl records, along with 400 black. Andrew Savage (whom I presume is the Andrew that responded to my e-mail) kindly informed me that you can tell if it’s a first pressing if there is no UPC code on the back, and if it’s a second pressing it will have the UPC code on the back (and it will also contain a download card). Perhaps you can raid your record store to find out if a first pressing is still lying around within their stock, if you desire a golden version or just a first pressing in general. Cheers!

The Details

Little was said about Parquet Courts' debut effort, American
Specialties. Released exclusively on cassette tape, the quasi-album
was an odd collection of 4 track recordings that left those who were
paying attention wanting more. A year of woodshedding live sets passed
before the Courts committed another song to tape. The band's first
proper LP, Light Up Gold, is a dynamic and diverse foray into the back
alleys of the American DIY underground. Bright guitars swirl
serpentine over looping, groovy post-punk bass lines and drums that
border on robotic precision. While the initial rawness of the band's
early output remains, the songwriting has gracefully evolved. Primary
wordsmiths A. Savage and Austin Brown combine for a dynamic lyrical
experience, one part an erudite overflow of ideas, the other an
exercise in laid-back observation. Lyrically dense, the poetry is in
how it flows along with the melody, often times as locked-in as the
rhythm section.

“This record is for the over-socialized victims of the 1990's 'you can
be anything you want', Nickelodeon-induced lethargy that ran away from
home not out of any wide-eyed big city daydream, but just out of a
subconscious return to America's scandalous origin," writes Savage in
the album's scratched-out liner notes. Recorded over a few days in a
ice-box practice space, Light Up Gold is equally indebted to
Krautrock, The Fall, and a slew of contemporaries like Tyvek and Eddy
Current Suppression Ring.

Though made up of Texan transplants, Parquet Courts are a New York
band. Throw out the countless shallow Brooklyn bands of the blasé
2000's: Light Up Gold is a conscious effort to draw from the rich
culture of the city - the bands like Sonic Youth, Bob Dylan, and the
Velvet Underground that are not from New York, but of it. A panoramic
landscape of dilapidated corner-stores and crowded apartments is
superimposed over bare-bones Americana, leaving little room for
romance or sentiment. It's punk, it's American, it's New York... it's
the color of something you were looking for.

-Tim Hodgin

First Press: 500 (100 gold vinyl, 400 black)

Second Press: 2,000 (all black)

Price $15

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