Welcome to Basement Dwelling, where I review new records that should be on your musical radar. What sets Basement Dwelling apart from other music review columns is that these are all albums that are currently residing in my record collection. No promo copy was given, no stream was listened to. Instead, a physical copy of an album was purchased before I listened to it. Don’t think of me as a critic, but as a music obsessive looking to open a dialogue about some of the best tunes that are currently being released.
Let’s head down to the basement and listen to Human Performance by Parquet Courts…
It’s the summer of 2013, and I decide to order a copy of an album I have heard a lot of buzz about, Parquet Courts’ Light Up Gold.
Completely excited by the singles that I had listened to prior to buying the album — “Borrowed Time” and “Stoned and Starving” — I was pretty certain I’d love what I heard once I got to listen to the final product.
Not only did I love it, but it became what I could easily deem one of my favorite albums of all time. Light Up Gold is a half-hour long adrenaline rush of a record that marries all the best elements of what has come before in the last 20+ years of indie rock and garage punk and firmly places its own stamp on the styles.
Needless to say, I became obsessed with this band from Austin, Texas. An obsession that has had a great pay-off with a lot of great subsequent releases since Light Up Gold. But none of Parquet Courts’ follow-up works were ever of the caliber of this latest record — Human Performance.
One of the qualities I enjoy hearing the most in Human Performance is how downright assured and confident of a record it is. In a lot of ways, it feels like the Parquet Courts album that the band has been leading up to. The playing is tight, the song writing is a bit more varied, and the whole experience of the record plays off as a delightful mixed bag that rewards you every time you reach in.
From the spaghetti western-sounding guitar hook on “Berlin Got Blurry” to the perfect guitar pop on “Outside” and the near spoken-word experimental jab of “I Was Just Here” the band covers a lot of territory in the record’s 42 minute run-time, with consistently fantastic results.
Lead vocalist Andrew Savage’s vocal delivery and lyrics are as on point as ever and, on this record, also kind of heartbreaking. This is without a doubt one of my favorite records of the year, and it’s further validation of how far Parquet Courts has come since their début, and how great of a band they’ve continued to become.
Final feelings on the record: Loved it.
— Dan Fiorio, Music Blogger