The Radar band in this week’s magazine is Parquet Courts, the Brooklyn four-piece that have been smashing up boxroom venues with a mix of Ramones punk and pithy lyrics that pin down, more than your average, the predicament of being a kid in the city with no idea what to do with your life. But lead singer Andrew Savage isn’t originally from New York City – he cut his teeth in the town of Denton, Texas, in a DIY punk scene so tight-knit (and one gendered) that he calls it a ‘boys’ club’.
During his time at the University of North Texas in Denton, Andrew had a listening club called Knights of the Round Turntable, started a label with Chris Pickering (of Teenage Cool Kids) called Dull Tools, and played in bands including Teenage Cool Kids, Wiccans and Fergus and Geronimo. Andrew’s dead set on getting the word out that Parquet Courts is a band from New York City (it’s all there in the lyrics of their album ‘Light Up Gold’ if you listen closely enough), but he’s also convinced that New York City is not the coolest place in the US for guitar music at the minute. “There is so much great stuff coming out of America outside of New York, and it is by no means the nucleus of the American Underground right now,” Andrew says. “That title goes to the doughy centre. The ‘real America’.” Here he suggests his favourite bands from the ‘doughy centre’ – and a few from the big apple for good measure.
Texan punks Wiccans put out an album, ‘Field II LP’, in August last year. Back in Texas, Andrew played on their 7” from 2010, ‘Teenage Cults’, for which he also did the artwork.
Another band from North Texas, Bad Sports released their self-titled debut on a label called Douchmaster Records in 2009, and a second, on the equally well-named Dirtnap Records, last year.
“We’re really excited about a band called PC Worship,” Andrew says. That’s a collective that we’re hanging around with in Brooklyn around this guy called Justin Frye…” Frye – who runs a DIY psychedelic scene out of his loft, dubbed Le Wallet, in Brooklyn – releases the loose and squalling jazz-meets-psych album ‘Beat Punk’ as PC Worship in March.
Andrew says: “Chris Pickering, who was in Teenage Cool Kids with me, has a new band with this no-wavy disco punk band going on. Word has it that it is going to be called The Earworms and features the amazing Heather Strange.” Chris is also the Texan friend with whom Andrew started his record label, Dull Tools. As The Earworms are yet to record, here’s the Denton equivalent to Arctic Monkey’s ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ – Teenage Cool Kids ‘Denton After Sunset’.
Just last August, Andrew put out an album with Denton-native Jason Kelly as Fergus And Geronimo, called ‘Funky Was The State of Affairs’. “The way that that band works is that I was already in a fully functioning real band [Teenage Cool Kids] when that band started and so was Jason [Wax Museums],” Andrew explains. “We recorded a couple of songs with no aspirations or goals at all. That whole band happened by accident.”
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Andrew says he’s yet to find a scene in Brooklyn that compares to the DIY scene in Texas. “But I feel like that will change,” he says. “There’s something bubbling up right now that could potentially be a wider artistic community. I like Warthog, Household, Family Curse, K-Holes…”