Music

Parquet Courts: Live at Third Man Records

What is essentially a live-version of Sunbathing Animal takes the hardest working group of lazy-bones in music to places new and exciting... just before it heads back to places familiar and boring.


Parquet Courts

Live at Third Man Records

Label: Third Man
US Release Date: 2015-03-03
UK Release Date: Import
Amazon
iTunes

I've got a hard time blaming the reigning Sultans of Slack for putting out a piece as unnecessary as this barely-rearranged live recording of Sunbathing Animal. Maybe it's because I've got a soft spot for 'em, maybe it's because it makes a certain cynical sense that everyone's favorite angry, lazy punk rockers would so quickly push out a live record that's little more than a re-release of their last major release with a few excisions and additions, or maybe it's just because I dug the holy hell out of that same album and don't mind a chance to listen to rougher versions of songs that were recorded maybe a little cleaner than they deserved.

So “Raw Milk” unspools from its four-minute studio version into a long, trailing ten minutes, and what of it? The fun in listening to a song so woozy is in watching it stumble around for a while, wondering how and when it's going to collapse. That it's not got a whole lot of direction and nobody in the band's striving to give it one until the very end ain't a block but a boon! It's like after years of being described as “sloppy”, all the while knowing they were as tightly wound as springs in a Swiss watch, the members of P.C. just got fed right the fuck up and decided to give the people what they wanted. Hence why they take a hatchet to the too-somber and too-predictable closer “Into the Garden” -- still here but with almost two whole minutes chopped right off -- and close instead on “Sunbathing Animal”, now just a few clicks slower and with a new ending just the right side of incoherent. It's delightful to see these goons take the proverbial gloves off and get their hands as dirty as they always seemed to want them.

It's a little less pleasing to see them slip the gloves back on in the middle of it all, though, as when they bust out “renditions” (using that term loosely, here) of “Dear Ramona”, “Bodies Made Of”, and “Instant Disassembly” that sound so much like the studio version you might swear the few seconds of crowd noise and banter before each was tacked on so you might miss the fact that, hey, wait, these songs sound like they were lifted directly off the album! Are they scared to cut loose? Or are they just so desperate to embody the other end of the slacker lifestyle that they decide, ya know, just keep it like we rehearsed? (The inclusion of the never-fun “Vienna II” and the momentum-sapping “Dear Ramona” suggest the latter. The absence of “What Color is Blood,” a song that begs for a live version, suggests the former.)

A live CD doesn't have to reinvent the wheel to be good, but it's gotta distinguish itself, lest it end up redundant. You hope the limits of a live set will give the music a kick, or at least get the artists, now unable to hide behind the illusion of perfection granted by the studio, a chance to fuck up gloriously, to play against the audience, to maybe get exhausted, get angry or get bored and start kicking against the music for a moment. There's a hint of this in “Duckin' and Dodgin'”, a moment when whatever glue it is that holds Andrew Savage's dusty vocals together has gone dry and there you sit, fingers crossed, hoping it might all fall apart and force Andy into something new. Maybe he'll just collapse in a wheeze. Maybe he'll start coughing up the lyrics with a brand new and completely uncharacteristic scream. Or maybe the song'll just move on as normal. You stuck the landing, Andy, and great for you, but you've already done that and I've got the recording to prove it! Surprise me next time, upset me -- hell, frighten me! -- but just don't you bore me like this again.

5


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.

Books

John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.

Music

Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.

Music

Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.

Books

Murder Is Most Factorial in 'Eighth Detective'

Mathematician Alex Pavesi's debut novel, The Eighth Detective, posits mathematical rules defining 'detective fiction'.

Music

Eyedress Sets Emotions Against Shoegaze Backdrops on 'Let's Skip to the Wedding'

Eyedress' Let's Skip to the Wedding is a jaggedly dreamy assemblage of sounds that's both temporally compact and imaginatively expansive, all wrapped in vintage shoegaze ephemera.

Film

Of Purges and Prescience: On David France's LGBTQ Documentary, 'Welcome to Chechnya'

The ongoing persecution of LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya, or anywhere in the world, should come as no surprise, or "amazement". It's a motif undergirding the history of civil society that certain people will always be identified for extermination.

Television

Padma Lakshmi's 'Taste the Nation' Questions What, Exactly, Is American Food

Can food alone undo centuries of anti-immigrant policies that are ingrained in the fabric of the American nation? Padma Lakshmi's Taste the Nation certainly tries.

Film

Performing Race in James Whale's 'Show Boat'

There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".

Music

The Greyboy Allstars Rise Up to Help America Come Together with 'Como De Allstars'

If America could come together as one nation under a groove, Karl Denson & the Greyboy Allstars would be leading candidates of musical unity with their funky new album, Como De Allstars.

Music

The Beatles' 'Help!' Redefined How Personal Popular Music Could Be 55 Years Ago

Help! is the record on which the Beatles really started to investigate just how much they could get away with. The album was released 55 years ago this week, and it's the kick-off to our new "All Things Reconsidered" series.

Music

Porridge Radio's Mercury Prize-Nominated 'Every Bad' Is a Wonderful Epistemological Nightmare

With Every Bad, Porridge Radio seduce us with the vulnerability and existential confusion of Dana Margolin's deathly beautiful lyricism interweaved with alluring pop melodies.

Music

​​Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' Builds Identity From Afrofuturism

Beyoncé's Black Is King's reliance on Afrofuturism recuperates the film from Disney's clutches while reclaiming Black excellence.

Reading Pandemics

Colonial Pandemics and Indigenous Futurism in Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor

From a non-Native perspective, COVID-19 may be experienced as an unexpected and unprecedented catastrophe. Yet from a Native perspective, this current catastrophe links to a longer history that is synonymous with European colonization.

Music

John Fullbright Salutes Leon Russell with "If the Shoe Fits" (premiere + interview)

John Fullbright and other Tulsa musicians decamped to Leon Russell's defunct studio for a four-day session that's a tribute to Dwight Twilley, Hoyt Axton, the Gap Band and more. Hear Fullbright's take on Russell's "If The Shoe Fits".

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.