Like a photo feed of classic New York in all its gum-blackened sidewalk splendor, the debut LP of Parquet Courts is a new decade's take on the laid-back but tightly wound NYC rock tradition coursing down from the Velvet Underground and perennially finding purchase in the ranks of the young and striving.
Packed with propulsive riffs and poetic lyrics about poorly aimed lives and walks with no aim at all, the genuine, vibrant "Light Up Gold," originally released last July, will receive a wider release on Jan. 15.
amNewYork spoke with co-songwriter Austin Brown.
What was the highlight for the band in 2012? Things are kind of crazy. I'd say they're definitely picking up steam, too, which is really exciting. My favorite moment for the band? We played so many great shows it's hard to pick one. I would say being listed in the Time magazine Top 10 songs of the year was really exciting. That was our first time to be in Time. I never really expected that.
Did you have a specific idea of the sound you were looking for when you set out? In our earlier days it was kind of a struggle of "What do we sound like?" Not necessarily what we want, but what do we four guys, playing guitars and drums, and with our love of certain music, what do we sound like when we get together and play? I like to think that's what a lot of bands we admire have done over the years. We [thought], "We're just going to do our own thing and we'll play whatever shows are offered to us, and we're just going to be a New York band." We never had any aspirations beyond that except to work hard and make records.
What does being a "New York band" mean to you? We're living in New York, and we're a New York band. We like to look at the history of New York, and what bands we really love, and bands that really made an impact on New York, and then ask, "What did they do?" What did Velvet Underground do? What did Sonic Youth do? What did Wu-Tang do when they were starting out? That's kind of where "Light Up Gold" came from. It's our New York record.
Any specific plans for 2013? We're planning on recording a new record. That's exciting. That'll be in the spring, or sometime in 2013. We're talking every day about tour plans we have for the summer. It's going to be a really big year for me and for the band.