“You’ve Got Me Wondering Now,” the first single off Parquet Courts’ new EP, debuted in an unusual way. The raucous track appeared on a cassette mixtape that the Brooklyn punk band mailed unexpectedly to 250 fans last month, a curated collection of music the musicians feel is connected to what they’re doing as a band. For the group, the mixtape was a palpable way for the band to connect with fans, after it decided early on not to use Twitter or Facebook. It’s only a bonus that it’s a creative means of premiering new music.
“It’s hard to make a connection when the only way fans are hearing about music is through the various media outlets reporting on this stuff,” singer/guitarist Andrew Savage says. “This is something tangible they can have. A blog post isn’t exactly tangible, is it? I also wanted to make a statement about what bands out there we share a solidarity and camaraderie with. I would like to define something that hasn’t been defined yet.”
The band formed in 2010 after Savage moved to Brooklyn and connected with guitarist Austin Brown. The foursome’s raw, melodic punk sounds something like the Damned meets Dead Kennedys, initially revealed on a 2011 cassette, “American Specialties.”
The group’s debut album, “Light Up Gold,” followed last year. Parquet Courts released the disc on vinyl in August through Savage’s own Dull Tools label and sold out the first pressing in less than a month. Kevin Pedersen, founder of indie label What’s Your Rupture?, had been following the group’s career and decided to sign the act. The label rereleased “Light Up Gold” on CD in January.
“I helped organize a really good team around the band,” Pedersen says. “None of the music changed. I distributed the Dull Tools version of the record alongside the CD. I set up a better distribution setup, their press and their radio campaign. I put Parquet Courts in a place where people could hear them.”
Parquet Courts’ new EP, “Tally All the Things That You Broke,” is due Oct. 8 on What’s Your Rupture? The group spent five days in the studio in April with engineer Jonathan Schenke recording 25 songs, five of which appear on the EP. The rest will be expanded upon during a September recording session for the band’s next full-length, which the group hopes to release early next year.
“During the recording process you just record for the sake of it,” Savage says. “Finding the releases comes later. “Light Up Gold” was a lot more of a pop record than our first, which was deliberately experimental. This EP — and the rest of the new material — uses both qualities.”
One of the most talked-about bands at South by Southwest in March, Parquet Courts have earned a solid touring base stateside and in Europe, and receive regularly airplay on SiriusXM. The success has largely been organic, the product of word-of-mouth and constant touring — as well as a compelling mix of things like a mixtape single premiere. It was only two months ago that the band took on a manager, James Oldham of Rough Trade Management, who has since focused on building these opportunities alongside Pedersen.
“They needed some infrastructure because things grew quickly,” he says. “It just kept growing. So they’ve achieved quite a lot and there were lots of elements in play, but it’s hard for a band to sustain that on the road. It meant they were missing out on things, so it became important to impose a little bit of structure on it.”
Oldham is using this fall’s international tour schedule to lay the groundwork for next year’s full-length, and radio remains an important facet of promoting Parquet Courts. But if you ask the musicians, they simply want to make music. “We’re just a band,” Brown says. “We write a record and then tour after it gets released, and we go through that process and the music industry does whatever it wants.”