Parquet Courts have announced details of the band’s newest album, Sympathy For Life, out on October 22nd via Rough Trade Records. Along with the announcement, the band has shared the lead single “Walking at a Downtown Pace” and accompanying video.
The follow-up to 2018’s Wide Awake! goes in a decidedly different direction as the alt-psych rockers grew the album’s 11-tracks out of improvised studio jams. Parquet Courts’ New York identity played a pivotal role in the inspiration for Sympathy For Life, as the rhythm of the city and its club culture contributed to the record as much as the band’s influence from Pink Floyd and Primal Scream.
“Wide Awake! was a record you could put on at a party,” co-frontman Austin Brown said in a statement. “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 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.”
For this album, the band utilized a unique recording strategy of sampling themselves, chopping up extensive improvisational jams, and splicing them together to make cohesive songs. Parquet Courts will appear on The Needle Drop‘s Twitch channel for a live interview tonight, August 18th, at 9 p.m. ET to discuss the recording process.
“The biggest asset we have as artists is the band,” Brown said. “After 10 years together, our greatest instrument is each other. The purest expression of Parquet Courts is when we are improvising.”
On the lead single, “Walking at a Downtown Pace”, that NYC-bred inspiration is on full display as viewers are taken on a guided tour of New York nightlife. The video—directed by acclaimed New York City street photographer Daniel Arnold—carries a How To With John Wilson quality as B-roll footage of the sights, sounds, and even the smells of the City create a non-linear storyline. Meanwhile, the harried pace of the psy-punk wanderings provides a tongue-in-cheek soundtrack to a night on the town.
In the video, “we see New York City from the vantage point of someone busily hurrying through it,” co-frontman A Savage said. “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.”
Watch the music video for “Walking at a Downtown Pace”, the lead single off Parquet Courts’ forthcoming album Sympathy For Life. Click here to pre-order and scroll down to see a full tracklist and album artwork.
Parquet Courts – “Walking at a Downtown Pace” (Official Video)
[Video: Parquet Courts]
Parquet Courts will host a number of digital and in-person events ahead of Sympathy For Life‘s release. “The Power of Eleven” is a series of 11 “global happenings” that will occur prior to the album release and are each tied to a unique piece of merchandise available only at the event. The first gathering took place last week in downtown Manhattan, as the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corp Marching Band marched through the streets performing “Walking at a Downtown Pace” while flying a custom-made Parquet Courts flag. Fans who attended received a pair of custom Parquet Courts drumsticks. For information on future “happenings,” click here.
Finally, the band has announced “Feel Free – Sympathy For Life, Visualised”, a livestream of 11 videos encompassing the entire record, which will air on October 20th, two days before the album’s release. The band enlisted the efforts of 11 visual artists from around the world to create a completely unique experience for fans who buy tickets to “Feel Free – Sympathy For Life, Visualised”. Purchase tickets here.
Sympathy For Life Tracklist
1. Walking At A Downtown Pace
2. Black Widow Spider
3. Marathon of Anger
4. Just Shadows
5. Plant Life
6. Application Apparatus
7. Homo Sapien
8. Sympathy For Life
9. Zoom Out