October 30, 2014

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Will Schube’s grit and determination will start Game 7 for the Kansas City Royals

Having seemingly exhausted the pervasive Velvet Underground influence, Parquet Courts have re-invented themselves as Parkay Quarts and are now intent on exploring the sonic multitudes of Bob Dylan. Well, it’s not quite so simple, but the band has never been interested in shying away from major influences.

Parkay Quarts is a side-project in the traditional sense of the phrase, as Parquet members Andrew Savage and Austin Brown are joined by Jef Brown from Jackie-O Motherfucker and Bob Jones of Eaters. I’m not going to pretend that the addition of these two men bring any discernible newness to Parquet Courts, but Brown and Savage seem intent on treating Parkay Quarts as a new avenue for exploration. The group is releasing an album, and the record’s first track is the slow-burning “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth”—six and a half minutes of swelling organs, lap steel guitar, and an odd sense of engagement from Savage, who spends much of his time in Courts channeling a tone of ambivalent detachment. Savage’s voice sounds a bit like David Berman’s—presenting a humorous melancholy, too downcast not to laugh or cry. The track hits a real peak about five minutes in, as the lap steel solo gives way to a raucous outro—-Savage yelps over the coalescing instruments, reaching a catharsis Parquet Courts is rarely interested in exploring. And this is the problem with side projects: the inevitability of comparison, either negative or positive. Changing a few letters shows that Brown and Savage aren’t particularly interested in separating themselves from Parquet Courts (especially the popularity, I imagine), but the music does the distancing for them.

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