What: Parquet Courts
When: 9 p.m. June 19
Where: Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer St., Denver, 303-291-1007
For a man whose band recently released a song called “Smart Aleck Kid,” Austin Brown doesn’t reveal a trace of snark when he talks about Parquet Courts.
Talking about the punk band’s plans for an EP to follow-up the full-length debut (unless you count the cassette exclusive that came first), Light Up Gold, he makes it all sound very natural and uncalculated.
“People can expect the unexpected — I don’t know,” he said. “I think it’s great to record again, and trying to get back in that mindset. We had 10 days in the studio and I think that we just didn’t really want to revisit Light Up Gold. We had an idea to kind of take our sound and our experience as a band together and push it further and see what else we were capable of.”
However the EP turns out, that can’t be said for “Smart Aleck Kid,” the B-side single released back in March. That short burst of punk rock, crammed with Parquet Courts’ trademark thoughtful lyrics, was a leftover from the Light Up Gold recording sessions. It couldn’t have been a response to the constant coverage of the band as “smart” punk, but the timing feels like it now.
Of course, being called smart isn’t an insult, and it’s something the band has earned. Songs like “Stoned and Starving” are about the munchies, sure, but they also take a line to point out that “Socrates died in the fucking gutter.” Then there’s the Light Up Gold liner notes, in which co-frontman Andrew Savage wrote, “This record is for the over-socialized victims of the 1990’s ‘you can be anything you want’, Nickelodeon-induced lethargy that ran away from home not out of any wide-eyed big city daydream, but just out of a subconscious return to America’s scandalous origin.”
That bit of writing inside the album cover is pretty indicative of the musical content, which besides being thoughtful is deeply sincere and frequently character-driven.
“It’s a fun literary device to play around with,” Brown said. “I think any time we’re writing words as lyrics or otherwise, yeah, I think I’m more influenced by writers of literature than writers of lyrics.”
He said there’s still some of that in the new material, and those songs are already getting some play on the band’s current tour. They’re on the road through early August and their stop at the Larimer Lounge on June 19 will be something of a reunion for Brown. The opening band’s drummer was in Brown’s first band when they went to high school together in Texas.
And even though Parquet Courts is a band with something to say, this is still punk rock. This show will be fun and it will get loud.