Parquet Courts might be a rock band, but don’t tell them that.
The Brooklyn-based four-piece outfit is currently touring in support of their album “Wide Awake!,” released in May to critical acclaim and garnering them comparisons to the likes of the Strokes and Talking Heads.
And yet when they return to New York this week to play their largest show to date, they’ll be enlisting the help of some unlikely friends: the Sun Ra Arkestra, the cosmic avant-garde jazz band founded by the legendary late composer Sun Ra.
“We like our shows to be interesting, so we like to play with all different kinds of artists,” said Andrew Savage, the lead vocalist for Parquet Courts. “[Playing with] Sun Ra Arkestra was just kind of a long shot idea that we thought probably wouldn’t work out but would be cool if it did.”
It may not be the first musical pairing your mind jumps to when you think “modern indie rock band,” but Parquet Courts has always preferred to play with the boundaries and conventions of rock music. That’s why the comparisons to now-classic bands from the ’80s and ’90s can be a bit unnerving for Savage.
“People always want that ‘rock is back’ moment, and they place it on the shoulders of bands that don’t necessarily want it,” he said. “Rock music isn’t going to occupy the same cultural space that it did, and we need to accept that and move on.”
If anything, “Wide Awake!” is a statement of just that. The album is vibrant and groovy, jam-packed with songs that incorporate elements of dance punk, funk, garage rock, and post-punk.
But if it sounds like it could have been pulled from any three decades in the past or future, its messages are as current as ever. Savage sings of protest and empowerment, through joyous melodies laced with an acute political anger that takes aim at those in power.
“It would have been really easy to make a record that was pessimistic and kind of operating only from anger,” Savage said of the dual emotions on the record. “I wanted to approach anger in a way that was more constructive than ways we had previously done.”
The result is a cathartic record designed to rally the troops instead of inspiring hand-wringing over the sociopolitical climate. It feels intimately present while plunging into the future, confident that the best medicine for uncertain times is finding your community, dancing along with your fist raised in the air.
If you go: Parquet Courts is performing at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W 34th St., ticketmaster.com, $30+