Parquet Courts Went On Ellen And Angrily Bashed Out A B-Side
Parquet Courts have been around long enough that they’re now essentially an indie rock legacy band, but they’ve always figured out way to keep things interesting. For instance, it’s a little perverse for an indie rock band to play on Ellen these days. This isn’t because Ellen won’t book indie bands — that’s been happening for years, and Parquet Courts themselves were on her show in 2018 — but because everyone pretty much hates Ellen DeGeneres these days. But for an indie rock band to go on Ellen and do something that seems purposefully alienating? That’s new.
A few months ago, Parquet Courts released the very good album Sympathy For Life. On Ellen, they did not play anything from that album. Instead, introducing the performance, Ellen DeGeneres said that Parquet Courts were on their show “to premiere their latest song.” This was not, strictly speaking, true. “Watching Strangers Smile” was the B-side of the band’s “Black Widow Spider” single, which came out back in September. But that was an extremely limited single, and they’ve kept the single off of the internet. So as far as most of us are concerned, sure, this is the premiere.
The song itself is good — a chugging rocker with a bloopy keyboard hook. But my favorite thing about the performance is Andrew Savage looking intensely mad throughout. Savage has always been an intense presence, but he doesn’t usually look furious, the way he does on the Ellen stage. Below, check out the performance and watch Andrew Savage not smile.
Sympathy For Life is out now on Rough Trade.