The Washington Post

Critic’s Notebook: Parquet Courts, Destiny’s Child, Dylan Ryan/Sand

Notable recordings from the world of pop music.

Parquet Courts

When promising small-city rock troupes relocate to New York in hopes of communing with the spirits of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and the Strokes, they're often skateboarding into a band-gobbling black hole of anonymity.

Not so in the case of Texas-turned-Brooklyn band Parquet Courts, whose deeply likable new album, "Light Up Gold,” is wordy, messy, instantly charismatic and slowly gaining the attention it deserves. “Stoned and Starving” is the album's longest, smartest cut — a rambling rock tune that finds these guys willing to ridicule their new environs and themselves. What could be more rock-and-roll than that?

Destiny's Child

There are bands that reunite for Coachella and there are bands that reunite for the Super Bowl. If you don't know which category Destiny's Child fits in, you haven't been paying much attention to the group's leader, Beyonce, who seems to operate exclusively in grand gestures lately. (In addition to re-forming Destiny's Child at next month's Super Bowl halftime show, she's singing the national anthem at President Obama's inauguration ceremony.)

Maybe that's why the new Destiny's Child single,"Nuclear," feels so charming. It's the trio's first release in eight years, and it isn't grand at all. Produced by Pharrell Williams, its drum beats mimic Baltimore club music, while the ladies' airy vocal melodies feel as effervescent as spa music.

Dylan Ryan/Sand

On his new album, “Sky Bleached,” the Los Angeles jazz drummer roams dusky, psychedelic rock plateaus with the help of bassist Devin Hoff and guitarist Timothy Young. Sometimes they sound like a jam band wandering. Sometimes they sound like a free jazz trio searching. And sometimes they sound the littlest bit like Black Sabbath, which means we must follow.

Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about Adele's sadness, Kendrick Lamar's fury, Young Thug's genius and T-Pain's vulnerability.


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