Monastic Living

Parquet Courts - Monastic Living
Critic Score
Based on 14 reviews
User Score
Based on 41 ratings
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It’s dark, it’s filthy, and it’s entirely immersive. Engaging and draining, Parquet Courts have once again pushed their capabilities to the max, and as ever, the results are like nothing you’ll find elsewhere.

It’s not as exciting as Light Up Gold or as consistently captivating as Sunbathing Animal, naturally, but for an album that at first blush feels like a purposeful f**k-off, Monastic Living is a surprisingly rich listen.


While it would be foolish to dismiss Monastic Living as simply unlistenable, its concept far outweighs its content, and I’d be pretty bummed if it took up much room in their set list.

The Skinny

In just over half an hour, the band turn their characteristically spiked stoner rock into wonky walls of noise, experimenting with abrupt scene changes and weird new backdrops.


Monastic Living provides meditative, probing insight into the ever-evolving attitude of Parquet Courts. Ultimately, the project serves best as a check-in, letting fans know where the band's heads are at after a year on the road. And although both fans and newcomers alike would benefit from a more substantial, cohesive project, it's enough for now.


It seems like Parquet Courts might be taking notes from labelmates Girl Band, producing some of their most uncompromising work to date. Monastic Living is a very curious move for the band.

Consequence of Sound

It’s easy to guess that Parquet Courts will loop back to their more streamlined art punk sounds moving forward, but Monastic Living proves, if nothing else, that this is a band that’s unafraid of taking the occasional off-the-wall detour.


Unlike that paragon of artistic rejection, Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, which actually coheres rather nicely, the EP has little textural detail; the music is not immersive, much less transcendent. It isn’t just a score to modern ennui but a work that itself feels indifferent. Yet it’s presented with a straight face.

Pretty Much Amazing

Monastic Living doesn’t have to be enjoyable—and it certainly isn’t—but by the end, after trudging through a half-hour of sonic mud, it has failed to expand the mind.

Under The Radar
Certainly, the dismantling of indie rock tropes is an admirable enough starting point for an EP, and there's no need to fault Parquet Courts for failing to come up with any concrete answers to the questions they've posed. What's much more unfortunate is that the band didn't manage to launch a very compelling investigation in the first place.

While ‘Monastic Living’ might say something profound about this awkward, enigmatic band, if you’re out to explore Parquet Courts for the first time, the facts are plain: you should pick any record rather than this.

There's no doubt there's an element of asking fans to politely piss off in this EP. Many of the ideas are infantile and could have been more, but Monastic Living is promising for the future of Parquet Courts.

Monastic Living I, Frog Pond Plop
I don't like listening to things that sound like a waste of my time. This was a waste of time to listen to. I see what they were going for, and I don't think they succeeded. This EP is the first "Oof" I've encountered in their discography. There are some enjoyable and interesting moments on this project--but only some.
Bold and brash, Monastic Living takes something I want the band to do more of to the absolute limit. The challenging, tone-deaf pieces, for most people, don't serve much function outside of the initial shock value that I think PC was going for. But I quite like the weird, dissonant textures and experimentation. I'd rather have this than them falling into a pattern of releasing the same, tired and clichéd garage rock album 10 times in a row. Monastic Living is a rather powerful statement ... read more
Monastic Living was the second Parquet Courts album I've ever heard and, if you know it, you are probably thinking "holy shit!".
It's their worst record, I gotta say I still can't understand it very well. The songs are way too raw for me. Just a big meh.
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Track List

  1. No, No, No!
  2. Monastic Living I
  3. Elegy of Colonial Suffering
  4. Frog Pond Plop
  5. Vow of Silence
  6. Monastic Living II
  7. Alms for the Poor
  8. Poverty and Obedience
  9. Prison Conversion
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Added on: August 4, 2015