Parquet Courts Announce Sympathy for Life, Share “Walking at a Downtown Pace”

Their first new record in three years is inspired by "New York clubs, Primal Scream and Pink Floyd"

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Parquet Courts Announce Sympathy for Life, Share “Walking at a Downtown Pace”

The Parquet Courts boys are back, and with one of Paste’s most-anticipated 2021 records in tow. Brooklyn’s own indie-rock cult heroes have announced their first new album since 2018’s acclaimed Wide Awake!, Sympathy for Life, coming Oct. 22 on Rough Trade Records. First single and video “Walking at a Downtown Pace” is out now.

The Danger Mouse-produced Wide Awake! bridged the gap between Parquet Courts’ lo-fi, stoney garage-rock beginnings and a more danceable, funky new style, and Sympathy for Life is said to lean even further towards the latter end of that spectrum. “The album finds the Brooklyn band at both their most instinctive and electronic, spinning their bewitching, psychedelic storytelling into fresh territory, yet maintaining their unique identity,” says a press release, listing “New York clubs, Primal Scream and Pink Floyd” among the album’s influences. Producers Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, Hot Chip, David Byrne) and John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, Dry Cleaning) worked on the LP alongside Parquet Courts, helping to piece it together mostly from improvised jams they then self-sampled.

Wide Awake! was a record you could put on at a party,” says co-frontman Austin Brown 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.”

“Most of the songs were created by taking long improvisations and moulding them through our own editing,” Brown continues. “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.”

In the “Walking at a Downtown Pace” video (dir. Daniel Arnold), “we see New York City from the vantage point of someone busily hurrying through it,” explains Parquet Courts co-frontman A Savage. “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.”

In addition to their new record, Parquet Courts have announced The Power of Eleven, a series of 11 “global happenings” set for the lead-up to their album release (a press release points to their website for more details), and Feel Free – Sympathy For Life, Visualised, a livestream of 11 videos (i.e., the entire album) that will air on Oct. 20, two days before the record’s release. Tickets are here.

Watch the “Walking at a Downtown Pace” video below, and find the details of Sympathy for Life and Parquet Courts’ tour dates further down.

Sympathy for Life Tracklist:
01. Walking At A Downtown Pace
02. Black Widow Spider
03. Marathon of Anger
04. Just Shadows
05. Plant Life
06. Application Apparatus
07. Homo Sapien
08. Sympathy for Life
09. Zoom Out
10. Trullo
11. Pulcinella

Sympathy for Life Album Art:


Parquet Courts Tour Dates:

18 – Augustine, FL @ Sing Out Loud Festival
22 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre *
24 – Marfa, TX @ Trans-Pecos Festival
26 – Accord, NY @ Woodsist Festival

02 – Tampa, FL @ Gasparilla Music Festival
29 – Richmond, VA @ The National
30 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
31 – Lancaster, PA @ Tellus360

03 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
04 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
05 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway City Arts
06 – Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony
17 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
19 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre

March 2022
15 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
16 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre

(* = supporting Portugal. The Man)

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