For me, finding new music while school is in session is tough. Between classes, extracurricular activities and — on my good days — a social life, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to scan the web for the debut from whatever band happens to be tearing up the festival scene. Luckily, we have summer to remedy that, and I thought I would recommend the latest album that I haven’t been able to keep out of my headphones: Sunbathing Animal by Parquet Courts.
Parquet Courts is a punk band from Brooklyn, which makes them the newest entry of a long list of New York punk bands including The New York Dolls, The Ramones, and (if you really want to) The Strokes. However, Parquet Courts seems to owe more to the West Coast music tradition, and most notably to one of the seminal indie bands of the 90’s: Pavement. Pitchfork, a music review website drew the same parallel, calling this album Parquet Courts’ Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, citing subtle melodic tricks and clever song structures in both albums. But you don’t have to take Pitchfork’s word for it. Just take a listen to “Black and White,” one of the album’s standout tracks. Thanks to the guitar melody almost drowning out the vocals in the chorus and the peppy, almost rushed verses, Parquet Courts sounds like a surf punk band showing off for their friends in Brooklyn.
However, Parquet Courts is not a band in the midst of an identity crisis. Rather, on Sunbathing Animal, they gather the highlights of their diverse influences and synthesize them into a cohesive, energetic, and just plain fun set of songs. For example, “Dear Ramona,” the third track on the album, features a clean guitar riff and a vocal performance reminiscent of Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, but the song also has a laid back feel that would earn it a place on a later Pavement album like Terror Twilight.
Regardless of your current feelings towards punk music, go check out Sunbathing Animal. Its incorporation of classic influences into something new and exciting just might give you a new appreciation for the genre.