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Parquet Courts at the Ritz

In Music
TOTAL FOOTBALL: Hesse. Twombly. Tzara. Mina. Panthers. Kobra. Dada. Beatles. And fuck Tom Brady.

TOTAL FOOTBALL: Hesse. Twombly. Tzara. Mina. Panthers. Kobra. Dada. Beatles. And fuck Tom Brady.

Because he’s polite, Andrew Savage obliges and dutifully answers the question he’s been asked many times before during this most recent cycle of interviews. The singer and songwriter for New York based art-punk-ramshackle-rockers Parquet Courts explains that he and his bandmates connected with producer Brian Burton—a.k.a. Danger Mouse—after Burton reached out to them via email.

The band had already written most of what would become their seventh LP, Wide Awake! They even had studio time booked to begin tracking the record. All the same, Burton convinced Parquet Courts to postpone and meet with him.

It was a risk and a novel move for the New York quartet. They’d never worked with a producer before—let alone one with as marquee a name as Danger Mouse. Ultimately, they were persuaded by his persistence and his clear fandom.

“He really wanted to do it,” Savage says. “We wanted to try something new.”

But if Savage is being honest, he doesn’t really want to talk about Burton. He’s happy with how the Wide Awake! turned out, and he says Burton definitely brought some insights to the recording process that the band never could have.

All the same, Savage would much rather talk about the music, and particularly the lyrics, on this latest album. That’s understandable. Though Parquet Courts have always been known for infusing their rolicking, guitar-driven tunes with social critique, the songs on Wide Awake! represent some of the most direct calls to action that the band have ever put to tape.

A prime is example is “Violence,” a funky, post-punky screed bemoaning the ubiquity of violence in America. It’s a song that calls out everything from micro-aggressions and violence as entertainment to police brutality, while also displaying a kind of self-awareness often absent in rock songs that challenge the status quo. “Allow me to ponder the role I play in this pornographic spectacle of black death,” Savage yells, seemingly at himself, as he calls upon the listener to take a good, hard look in the mirror.

“I wanted to articulate angst that was very clear and very direct and confrontational without being nihilistic,” he explains of the song. “I wanted to be, I guess, constructive. It’s important for us all to question this kind of institutionalized injustice. The main thing about violence is as Americans—our complicity to American violence.”
It’s heady stuff. It also absolutely rocks—a great combination.

Parquet Courts
Sep 28, 7pm, $21.50+
The Ritz, San Jose

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