Parkay Quarts: Tally All The Thkings You Broke, 180G Black Vinyl 12" EP
The language of Brooklyn's Parquet Courts focuses on the mundane minutiae of the everyday: Even when they’re stoned they’re not just simply starving, they’re walking around Ridgewood, Queens weighing the consequences between roasted peanuts, licorice, and Swedish Fish. Often it seems they don’t want you to take any of their shit all that seriously, either. But just like Steve Malkmus was mis-labeled the slacker king, Parquet Courts singer/guitarist Andrew Savage can sound like he’s murmuring lyrics from deep within a futon. Some of the first words you hear on their shining 2012 full-length debut Light Up Gold are “I didn't come here to dream or teach the world things/ Define paradigms, or curate no living days,” and here there’s a little speech bubble in the corner of the artwork for the new Tally All The Things That You Broke EP that says “Got damn it’s just a bootleg!”
But that excuse is scratched out in red marker, and instead, front and center, are five “Self-Evident Truths” taken from each of the five songs of the EP. Parquet Courts, if for only some brief minutes on this collection, actually spend some time caring about, you know, stuff. There’s even a song on here that nods to the subversive punk directives of bands like Minor Threat and Black Flag and is diametrically opposed to anything resembling a “slacker” anthem.
Released just over a year after Light Up Gold, the droll post-punk of the band's debut rolls onward for these five songs about heartbreak, rebellion, depression, and trying to deliver weed on a bike. Levity remains Parquet Courts’ strongest suit, obviously. They’re the young wise fools of New York (by way of Texas), and their sound openly recalls all the frayed and wiry post-rock of the 80s and 90s, though their southern twang and sharp satire push them away from being revivalists. Savage’s delivery of the anxieties running through his mind is just as thrilling as the spidery guitars that run beside them. What separates him from his Gen-X forebears is that none of what he does feels typically cool at all—he has a way of masking honest songwriting in crooked wordplay and a joke about the munchies. At his most honed, he’s a two-bit philosopher on “You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now”, suggesting that “Toothache’s better than heartache” and “Seasick’s better than heartsick,” but some heart-breaker has him second guessing his own platitudes. -Pitchfork