Since Parquet Courts formed in 2010, they’ve always centred their music around resistance, in some way or another.
From challenging hypermasculinity, to exploring themes of death, love and collectivity, the Brooklyn four-piece remain one of the most relevant bands that have adapted with the times. Now, they’re gearing up to release their sixth studio album Wide Awake! A party album at its core, it captures the duality of powerhouse punk bands like Youth of Today or Gorilla Biscuits, delivered in a more polished case thanks to Danger Mouse’s touch on production. Ahead of its release, we caught up with lead vocalist and guitarist A. Savage to discuss the songs and records that matter the most.
The record that had an irreversible impact on me growing up
I’ll settle on Crass – Yes Sir, I Will [Crass Records, 1983]. It introduced me to the concept that punk wasn’t just something that was aestheticised. Up until that point, I only knew punk to be something that was codified and aligned with a certain aesthetic, reinforced by whatever music history I could get my hands on at the time. Having heard Crass’ first record Feeding of the 5000, I was familiar with them at their most traditionally anarcho-punk, but what resonated with me was the message that punk was a state of mind. It introduced me to a lot of politics that I’ve had in my life since – you know, a lot of stuff about anarchism and collectivity. That really changed it all for me.
A song that breaks my heart
I associate Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones  with a moment of deep heartbreak. I considered the song a bit corny before this moment, but I was moving to New York and my girlfriend was moving to San Francisco and I just remember packing up the house, with that song on in the background, and the both of us just hysterically crying. It’s definitely a song that I don’t think would have had that emotional impact otherwise, but moving out of a cohabitated residence with someone you were with while that song plays – odds are pretty good that you’re going to cry.
An album that caught my attention with its artwork
There’s a band called Futurisk and they have a record called Player Piano [Clark Humphry Records, 1982]. I saw it on a record store wall before it had been re-released, and later I found out it had been re-issued by Minimal Wave Records here in New York. The cover is orange with a very bold typeface – it’s quite minimal, but not in the way you’d expect minimal nowadays to be. I’m attracted to album sleeves that stir this sense of curiosity in you – the kind that you see and really wonder what it sounds like inside. I’ve found quite a few records that way – it’s not that the cover looks cool, although in this case it does, but more about when it creates this sort of puzzle and you’ve just gotta get to the bottom of it. That’s what inspires me.
A track I’ve recorded that is deeply significant to me
On the new Parquet Courts record, there’s a song called Freebird II that is very special to me. It has to do with something I could say I haven’t talked about much in music, which is the way I was raised, situations around my upbringing, and my parents. I don’t speak much about my personal life in interviews because I’m not too carefully interested in having a public persona, but this song is the most I’ve ever talked about my past. I like to reveal myself not through biography, but through lyrics. Those are my stories – that’s my own way of talking about myself.
Wide Awake! is released May 18 via Rough Trade