Song of the Day: Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

photo by Dave Lichterman

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is the title track from the 2014 album Sunbathing Animal by Parquet Courts on What’s Your Rupture / Mom+Pop.

Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal (MP3)

By song length alone, you can tell that Parquet Courts is growing as a band. While on their 2012/2013 album, Light Up Gold, nearly every number punched in and out in under 3 minutes, the songs on their following EP, Tally All the Things That You Broke, and this year’s excellent new LP, Sunbathing Animal, practically sprawl by punk standards, reaching 3, 5 and even 7 minutes. Not lost, though, is the sharp political and social commentary that made the Brooklyn-via-Denton band a KEXP staff and fan favorite last year. Sunbathing Animal continues Parquet Courts’ DIY art punk aesthetic as it ranges from jangly riffs and rolling melodies to blasts of raw aggression. And it’s smart as hell.

In fact, you practically need a dictionary to follow Andrew Savage’s urban existential rant on today’s featured song, the album’s breakneck title track, on which he fires off with biting intent the feeling of inescapable action and thought:

It’s the sound a captured heart makes as it sizzles into vapor
The tidal hum of fondness like a spike wave oscillator
The rabid UV grin that beckons me into approaching
Grasping as it recedes into space.

That’s some John Donne-esque metaphysical shit right there. But no matter how smart the lyrics and how difficult they are to sing along to, Savage and crew – including co-lyricist and guitarist Austin Brown, bassist Sean Yeaton and drummer Max Savage – play such catchy melodies and captivating riffs that you’ll try anyhow, so that, like the song says, you’ll be in their control like a sunbathing animal.

Despite the existence of a “Parquet Courts Facebook page”, the band is not active on social media. (The band disavows the fan-created page and the use of social media in general.) They do, however, offer mixtapes, videos and other good stuff on their website, so keep checking there. And check out Parquet Courts in person as they return next month to Pickathon, where last year they were a major highlight (get tickets here), and also when they play live at Vera Project on August 5th (get tickets here). For now, here’s a fairly new video for the locomotive track of, you guessed it, existential examination, “Black And White”, also from the new album:

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