Last week was a whirlwind for Parquet Courts. They flew to Los Angeles for a brief visit to serenadeEllen and her TV studio audience with a jubilant performance of ‘Wide Awake’, the title track off their forthcoming album (out May 18 via Rough Trade / Remote Control).
After that, they headed for a quick jaunt through Texas performing at Levitation Fest in Austin. Today, they share their new single, ‘Mardi Gras Beads.’ The song is the first Austin Brown-penned albumtrack revealed thus far, and the sonic difference cannot be denied. While the A. Savage songs have presented a “D. Boon-meets-Dee-lite” vibe, Brown’s songs represent a more tender and emotionally exposed side to the album.
The video picks up where ‘Wide Awake’ left off, focusing on Austin as he contemplatively walks the streets and lots of New Orleans. “It’s a song about commitment to yourself for better or worse”, says Brown. As with ‘Wide Awake’, Brother Willis directed ‘Mardi Gras Beads’ during Mardi Gras. The song was released as a Record Store Day exclusive two weekends ago, so fans who purchased the 7″ got an early listen.
Wide Awake!is a groundbreaking work, an album about independence and individuality but also about collectivity and communitarianism. There’s also a freshness here, a breaking of new territory that’s a testament to the group’s restless spirit.
Part of this could be attributed to the fact that ‘Wide Awake!’was produced by Brian Burton, better known as Danger Mouse, but it’s also simply a triumph of songwriting. “The ethos behind every Parquet Courts record is that there needs to be change for the better, and the best way to tackle that is to step out of one’s comfort zone,” guitarist/singerA. Savagesays of the unlikely pairing. “I personally liked the fact that I was writing a record that indebted to punk and funk, and Brian’s a pop producer who’s made some very polished records. I liked that it didn’t make sense.” It was Danger Mouse, an admirer of Parquet Courts, who originally reached out to them, presenting them with just the opportunity to stretch themselves that they were hoping for.