Tag Archives: Pavement

Parquet Courts @ Webster Hall

Ive been noticing an interesting phenomena in some of the younger folks I’ve met recently…the thrall, the charm, the possibility, the obsession with, the love of the internet has worn thin. There is also an acute awareness of being targeted by marketing campaigns. This is made abundantly clear in the song ‘Content Nausea’ by my favorite band from this past year, Parquet Courts. Topics range from technology to panic and depression, the military industrial complex (Careers in Combat) and some good old fashioned story songs and all with a great sense of humor. They sound like a mix of The Velvet Underground, Pavement, The Soft Pack and Television. I got to see them last Thursday at Webster Hall. I saw a huge line down the block and wondered if I’d be in a crush. It turned out the line was for Thurston Moore who was playing in a small club next door. Two very strong writer/guitarists in the band make for some great angular melodic guitar exchanges like the band Television. I’m a huge fan of lyrics and these guys have them in spades! One is more of a singer and the other is more of a shouter/sing-spoken-word man. The bass player sang one of the songs too! On their website under a photo of Webster Halls Marquee proclaiming the show to be sold out whichever band member writes on their website wrote, Who am I kidding we sold out a long time ago… followed by a video of a drone-y, sludgey performance at a party? Not the stuff of sellouts http://parquetcourts.wordpress.com/ They release their albums on vinyl as well as CD (much respect) and they’re 4 albums in already (I didn’t catch the title of their first release in 2012 but they made a splash with Light Up Gold, followed by Sunbathing Animal and most recently Content Nausea) plus they do their own art work (respect again). They played songs from those three big albums:

Up All Night
Bodies
Black and White
Vienna II
Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth
Everyday It Starts
Dear Ramona
Master of My Craft
Borrowed Time
Careers in Combat
N Dakota
What Color Is Blood
No Ideas
Disney P.T.
Ducking & Dodging
Raw Milk
Into the Garden
Content Nausea
Light Up Gold II
Sunbathing Animal
Encore:
Pretty Machines
Yonder is Closer to the Heart
Always Back in Town
Instant Disassembly

Given the current demonstrations here in NYC and in particular in light of the Eric Garner murder the end of the song, ‘Instant Disassembly’ which closes with the repetition of the line ‘I can’t breath, I can’t breath, it’s hard to inhale yeah’ took on a heightened significance. My only complaint was that the rapid-fire words of ‘Content Nausea’ got lost in shouting and distortion. Regardless it was a great performance! I bought the t-shirt (ha ha) I see buying t-shirts from bands as helping out. I think it’s the only way bands make money. Anyway, listen to Parquet Courts I highly recommend them!!

Philip Lynch Band next appearing at Piano’s 158 Ludlow Street, NYC December 23rd (Festivus for the rest of us!!) @ 7PM

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Alternate Tunings

So a co-worker of mine, Ryan, has been taking guitar lessons from another co-worker of mine, Tom (http://rotaryclub.bandcamp.com/). Ryan swung by my desk one day and said something like “Hey man, what’s the deal with alternate tunings? Why do guitarists do that?”. My initial response was well you get deeper sounds and you can play chords which would otherwise be hard to form in the usual guitar E-A-D-G-B-E formation (strings low to high). Also alternate tunings make slide playing easier. Conceptually though I had to parse through what it means to change the tuning of ones guitar. Some favorite players of mine play in many various alternate tunings, John Fahey, Nick Drake, and Joni Mitchell. John Fahey’s choice of alternate tuning I can grasp easily since he was usually a solo performer performing instrumental tunes and other tunings add variety. It may test an audiences patience asking them to wait while moving from tuning to tuning but alternate tunings do offer very varied sounds. This is a link to his many various tunings:
http://johnfahey.com/TuningsPage.htm
And here’s, ‘On the Sunnyside of The Ocean’, in DGDGBD which is an open G chord:

Here’s Joni Mitchell playing ‘Just Like This Train’ in an open C, CGDFCE

I’m also including this version of ‘California’ with Joni on dulcimer because it’s amazing!

Here’s Nick Drake’s ‘Cello Song’ in (I think) DADGDF# (capo on 1st fret)

Bands use alternate tunings too! Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) uses open G quite a bit and apparently without a low e-string! Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) employs many various tunings. I use a couple on some of my songs. So, in short, I encourage all budding guitarists to de-tune and re-tune your guitars, it opens up sonic possibilities and chord voicings you might not have otherwise encountered!!

I’ll be on the cable access show Deprogramming Hour tonight at 12:30AM MNN4 or mnn.org after Boy Altar, tune in (get it?)!!
Have great listens this weekend and I’ll be more prompt with next weeks post! -p

Lyrics

I have heard a couple of times, not from people I know mind you so I suppose I should say I have OVERheard a couple of times that, “lyrics don’t really matter to me”. In the interest of pursuing a more open mind, I’ve been trying to grasp this one. I begin by checking into my ‘instrumental’ brain. John Fahey (no lyrics) Chopin (no lyrics) Pelican (no lyrics …until their most recent album). I am totally fine with this. Next I move on to words or sounds or seemingly incongruous utterances, Captain Beefheart, Beck, Pavement…words which form a feeling without a particular narrative or a nonsensical narrative or a painting, an impression. I dig. Then I think of direct storytelling songs, abstract truth songs, and pure outburst songs. And I think if any of these songs were made by people who didn’t care about what they were writing then it’d be pretty okay for someone listening to say something like “lyrics really don’t matter to me” because they didn’t matter to the maker. Can you imagine the song, Imagine, without the words?

How about, A Boy Named Sue?

Blowin’ In The Wind?

I went through a heavy hip-hop period when I was a kid and I can not conceive of Rappers Delight by The Sugarhill Gang, The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, or The Freaks Come Out at Night by Whodini or really any rap without lyrics.

WORD!!

Sorry for the short post this week folks (super busy) Have a great week! -p