A secret show at Baby’s All Right. A mysterious mural instagrammed by Rough Trade saying their name and the words Human Performance. These signs finally led to the debut of two new songs on WFUV, and the rumored fourth album from Parquet Courts is official.
Since American Specialties in 2011, Parquet Courts has consistently put out the best and most diverse music of the last five years. 2016 is clearly going to be no exception. After a (relatively) quiet 2015 in which the band released just one excellent EP, Monastic Living, Andrew and Max Savage, Austin Brown, and Sean Yeaton are poised to have a bigger year, releasing more excellent music.
So far we’ve only had two songs, but, holy shit. Maybe, I’m betraying a little bias here, but I’ve already listened to each of them three times through. Maybe it’s something about hearing them play live in the WFUV studio, or maybe it’s just that the two tracks are that good. Whatever it is with, “Dust” and “Outside” Parquet Courts have released two of this very young year’s best songs.
Although 2016 is in its infancy, it is clear that these songs will hold up through the year. “Dust” is driven by a motorik beat. In terms of the Parquet Courts’s discography, it sounds like it could be a track off of Content Nausea. Structurally, it shares a lot in common with “Everyday It Starts” off of that album. Both, songs progress with a single chorus(or variation thereof), broken up with spurts of guitar, until the song descends into feedback and noise. This is not to say, they sound the same at all. Despite, the comparisons one can make between the two, they retain their own distinct sounds.
On the other hand, “Outside” would sound much more at home on Sunbathing Animal or Light Up Gold. It is much hookier than “Dust,” and lyrically it reaches the bar that Savage and Brown have set for themselves since the beginning. Clocking in at one minute and forty seconds, it is as densely wordy as many of Parquet Courts’s best songs. “I tried to break all the objects that I threw,” Savage delivers with the same casual demeanor he had while walking stoned through Ridgewood Queens.
Ultimately, both songs represent two different strands of Parquet Courts, neither better or worse than the other. The direction they’ll take on Human Performance remains a mystery, but if it features tracks like “Dust” and “Outside,” we can sure be happy about it, no matter which way it goes.
By Alex Sniatkowski