TEST SPINS: Parquet Courts, Human Performance

If you haven’t heard of Parquet Courts by now, it’s too late — the bandwagon has collapsed under the weight of their fandom. The band’s just-released fifth full-length album, Human Performance, is as strong a showing as any of their previous records, although their energy has shifted a bit. Frontman Andrew Savage’s neurotic sensibility remains consistent, but, to some extent, he’s turned away from the overtly political and thrown a microscope onto his own anxieties and romantic flings. Parquet Courts self-consciously follows a lineage of New York groups that goes back to the Velvet Underground, by way of punk acts like the Ramones, Suicide and New York Dolls, as well as via No Wave acts like Sonic Youth. At the same time, they’ve relished comparisons to British post-punk group of the ’70s — bands like Gang of Four and Wire.

TEST SPIN: The Snails — Songs from the Shoebox

After all the hype had died down, and they’d played the last show of an extensive international tour, the members of Future Islands must have found themselves in an insecure place. In March 2014, the band’s popularity boomed all at once thanks largely to a breakthrough moment — their ecstatic performance of “Seasons (Waiting on You)” on The Late Show with David Letterman — and the subsequent internet craze that this moment spawned. By mid-2015, however, I imagine the natural uncertainties of being a band post-15 minutes of fame had set in. Would Future Islands be forever remembered as that band that played on Letterman? What could lay ahead for them now that their big moment of mainstream attention had come and gone?