Socialist Worker

Rage and hope on new album from Parquet Courts

by Alan Kenny
Issue No. 2606

Parquet Courts at Rough Trade records

Parquet Courts at Rough Trade records (Pic: Paul Hudson/Flikr)


Until now this brilliant New York band’s most well-known song was called, “Stoned and starving”.

It’s a great song that kind of does what it says on the tin.

I’ve long enjoyed their punky, surfy sound—they are a talented bunch.

But Parquet Courts’ new album Wide Awake knocked me sideways. This album strives to be up there with some of the best resistance music.

The opener Total Football announces that this is an album about fighting back.

“We are conduits of clear electricity. Now you’re back on the pitch to take the apparatus apart.”

Dismantled

Later, “Only through those who stay awake can an institution be dismantled. It is dishonest, nay, a sin to stand for any anthem that attempts to drown out the roar of oppression.”

The second song, Violence, is a brilliant tribute to Gil Scott-Heron, but also bands such as Rage Against the Machine.

Its lyrics are so strong that it’s almost like a missing verse from

Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

It’s simultaneously about police violence and school shootings.

It manages to scream Black Lives Matter without actually saying it.

And the album carries on like that.

Lead singer A Savage sounds at turns a bit like The Clash’s Joe Strummer and elsewhere Elvis Costello. And the album is laden with a sort of nostalgia for great music that’s gone before. Are we supposed to hear The Specials Ghost Town on Back to Earth? Probably.

The closing track Tenderness is probably my favourite for its joyful piano riffs and it just leaves you wanting more.

This album is a manifesto in the era of Trump. It’s exciting because it smells of the hope that things can change.

Wide Awake by Parquet Courts. Out now

On the Roof Of Your House, All Alone

This is a new collection of six songs from folk musician Russ Chandler.

With an eclectic choice of material and collaborators, Russ comes up with a very distinctive take on folk music. A forgotten music hall number from the 19th century is brought bang up to date in hipster Shoreditch.

There’s also a song by designer and radical William Morris, some swinging hits from the 1930s and a sad love song too.

It’s all driven by Russ’s innovative and driving banjo playing—backed up by some of the top names in folk.

By Russ Chandler. Available from russchandlermusic.com

Fauda

Fauda is a story of the Israeli occupation of Palestine—with almost all reference of the occupation brushed over.

It’s been lauded as an even-handed dramatisation of the occupation because it “humanises” Palestinians.

Despite this, the Palestinians are shown as the baddies and the Israelis as the conflicted goodies.

The action follows undercover Israeli special forces operating in the Palestinian West Bank.

They hunt down Palestinian “terrorists”.

It’s yet another example of how the Israeli state is attempting to normalise its brutal occupation of Palestine through targeted cultural interventions.

Available at netflix.com

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