Parquet Courts are an American band | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Parquet Courts are an American band

The band aims to bring new life to another slice of Americana: rock 'n' roll.

Bringing rock back: Parquet Courts
Bringing rock back: Parquet Courts

While the parquet floor of Boston Garden exists as but a memory for most Celtics fans, chunks of the defunct arena's court have found new life in the form of collectible pens, cufflinks and key chains, transforming the iconic court into literal slices of Americana.

Punk-rock band Parquet Courts, whose name plays off the historic sports center's feature, aims to bring new life to another slice of Americana: rock 'n' roll.

"Rock music, at least, has unfortunately fallen by the wayside," says vocalist and guitarist Andrew Savage. "But I think there is something happening right now in the indie-rock-et-cetera consciousness that is kind of bringing it back. I'd like to think [Parquet Courts] has some part in that."

The quartet formed two years ago from Savage and songwriter and guitarist Austin Brown's need to deviate from their past bands' genres and "indulge in the kind of American punk-rock weirdo tendencies" they have as songwriters. 

"We've both done other things, but it was kind of like, with Austin and I, the right band for the right time," Savage says. "We were both writing these types of songs and lyrics. We each had this collection of songs that we put together, and we were like, ‘All right, these make sense. These are cohesive. Let's start a group out of this.'"

The pair recruited Savage's brother Max Savage to play drums and Sean Yeaton to play bass, creating Savage's idea of an all-star line-up.

"I was fortunate that I got to meet all of these people, and I got to decide, ‘OK, I want this guy on guitar in the next band I start, and I want this guy on bass.' They just felt like the right guys for the job," Savage explains.

Parquet Courts' music contains a precise, almost mechanical, nature with its unwavering bass lines and percussion. Savage's vocals add a bit of roughness, but maintain a simplicity also found within the lyrical content. A few of their influences include English post-punk, American punk, pop and a bit of Neil Young, but Savage says their artistic process does not end with audible inspirations.

 "We have an important visual aesthetic," Savage says. "Living in New York City and in America is a huge influence, too. We define ourselves as a New York band but also an American band — that includes the history of American music, not just pop and rock music, but America as an idea, concept and cultural force."

The band's first release, American Specialties, received little recognition, but 2012's Light Up Gold garnered the attention of What's Your Rupture?, an independent label in New York, which will rerelease the album on Jan. 15 as a CD and LP. Savage describes the title track, and the title itself, as the "centerpiece" or "nucleus" of the album's content. 

 "[‘Light up gold'] is the thing everyone is looking for, the quality of life you can't really describe," Savage says. "It is the driving force of life, the thing we all know that we want, but we don't know exactly what it is."