PARQUET COURTS – ” Sympathy for Life “

Posted: September 8, 2021 in MUSIC
Parquet Courts - Sympathy For Life

Parquet Courts have announced a new album “Sympathy for Life”, and shared its first single “Walking At A Downtown Pace” via a frantic video for it featuring New York City street life. “Sympathy for Life” finds the band embracing their more danceable electronic side and is due out October 22nd via Rough Trade Records, with a visual album featuring videos for every song premiering two days earlier. They have also announced some unique global events connected to the album. New York City street photographer Daniel Arnold directed the “Walking at a Downtown Pace” video.

Sympathy for Life follows the band’s acclaimed 2018 album “Wide Awake”, also released via Rough Trade. In June the band released a new limited edition 12-inch single, “Plant Life” that isn’t currently available digitally. “Plant Life” is included on the album.

For Sympathy for Life the band worked with producers Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, Hot Chip, David Byrne) and John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, Dry Cleaning). The album was made mainly from improvised jams and inspired by New York clubs, Primal Scream, and Pink Floyd.

“Wide Awake! was a record you could put on at a party,” co-frontman Austin Brown said in a press release. “Sympathy For Life” is influenced by the party itself. Historically, some amazing rock records have been made from mingling in dance music culture—from Talking Heads to [Primal Scream’s] Screamadelica. Our goal was to bring that into our own music. Each of us, in our personal lives, has been going to more dance parties. Or rather, we were pre-pandemic, which is when this record was made.”

“Most of the songs were created by taking long improvisations and moulding them through our own editing,” Brown adds. “The biggest asset we have as artists is the band. After 10 years together, our greatest instrument is each other. The purest expression of Parquet Courts is when we are improvising.”

Co-frontman A Savage had this to say about the “Walking at a Downtown Pace” video: “We see New York City from the vantage point of someone busily hurrying through it. That’s what life can be like here; a world of constant motion surrounds you while you’re just walking toward where you need to be. There’s a lot of beauty that can be missed, and it wasn’t until the streets were virtually empty that I did miss it. The song was written before all quarantine, but eerily enough the lyrics echo that longing. Now the city is back and, so it seems, are Parquet Courts.”

Feel Free – Sympathy For Life, Visualised will be a livestream of 11 videos, one for each song on the album, each directed by a different visual artist. It will stream on October 20th and is a ticketed event. Tickets cost $15 (or $10 if you buy them in the next three days) and ticket-holders will also get access to exclusive merch. You can buy tickets here.

Finally, Parquet Courts have also announced The Power of Eleven, which will be 11 global events, or “happenings” as a press release calls them, each in a different city (including London, Tokyo, Paris, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn, and Austin) and each tied to a different song on the album and a different piece of exclusive merch. The first happening has already happened, when last week the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corp (LGBAC) Marching Band marched through the streets of downtown Manhattan and performed “Walking at a Downtown Pace” while also flying a custom-made Parquet Courts flag (find a recap on the band’s website here). More info on future The Power of Eleven events can also be found on the band’s website.

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