Monday, March 29, 2010

EIC'S10Q'S w/Parenthetical Girls

"..Zac Pennington's vibrato has the ability to swoon you under the right circumstances. His voice is truly unique, as well passionate and over zealous. You can hear/feel every emotion with every dip, swell, and quiver of his voice. The music behind the curtain is also quite unique. It could probably be best classified as "Left Field Indie Pop". Quirky electronics (minimal to the rest of the sound) fill in the voids between string arrangements and horn sections that sound seriously just like something you would hear from an old time Spector production mixed with a few other Indie Pop niches.."

Parenthetical Girls
Understated Jangle Pop Eminence

Parenthetical Girls Bio:
A group that has cautiously moved from the bedroom recording studio to the stage, Parenthetical Girls began as an amateur recording project by two longtime friends, rock writer Zac Pennington and part-time musician Jeremy Cooper. Indulging in a shared fondness for British post-punk, Brian Eno, and Phil Spector, the two began creating eccentric but playful indie rock tunes in 2002 on a lo-fi eight-track recording setup dominated by glockenspiel, a cheap synthesizer, and a guitar that refused to stay in tune. Calling their collaboration "Swastika Girls" (after a tune from Brian Eno and Robert Fripp's No Pussyfooting), Cooper and Pennington were initially unimpressed with their results and set the tapes aside until Pennington gave some of the material another listen in 2003 and decided to resurrect the project. Pennington handed the original session tapes over to two different musicians he knew and admired -- Jherek Bischoff of the Dead Science and Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu -- and asked each to mix the seven selections he'd unearthed. Cooper and Pennington were impressed enough with the results that they decided to release an album of the material; embracing the less-controversial handle Parenthetical Girls, their self-titled debut featured Bischoff's mixes on the "X" side of a vinyl LP, with Stewart's versions appearing in the same sequence on the other "O" side. A brief tour followed, with Cooper staying home and Pennington joined by Bischoff and Sam Mickens, also of the Dead Science, followed by another road trip featuring Pennington and Mickens. By the time the debut album was reissued on CD in 2006, Cooper had dropped out of active service within the Parenthetical Girls, and the second album from the "group," Safe as Houses, was primarily created by Pennington and Bischoff, and released in mid-2006. The group's lineup finally solidified around Pennington and multi-instrumentalists Matt Carlson, Eddy Crichton, and Rachael Jensen, with Bischoff continuing as a studio collaborator. This version of the group collaborated with 25 classically trained musicians on Parenthetical Girls' third album Entanglements, which took their music in an ambitious, orchestral direction. Tomlab released Entanglements in 2008.

Hello, how are you?
I’ve certainly been worse. Thank you for asking.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m presently listening to the purr of the space heater at my feet—I can’t really type and listen to music at the same time. But I’ve spent the last seven days listening pretty much exclusively to The Fall.

Where does the name Parenthetical Girls come from?
The name Parenthetical Girls is an awkward play on/heavy handed allusion to the group Theoretical Girls—a No Wave-era band featuring Glenn Branca. It was chosen after our previous name—Swastika Girls—became a cross none of us was interested in bearing any longer, and was decided upon for mostly phonetic reasons.

What is the title of your next full length album? Is there a theme?
The title of our next album is Privilege. It is being release over the next year and a half or so as a series of five 12” EPs—the first will be issued on February 23, and is subtitled “On Death & Endearments.” The album is still being written, but for the most part, the themes seem to be a lot less direct than on our previous records. In general terms: Death & Endearments, Fame & Delusion, Failure.

You find a time machine and it works, what year do you go to and why?
How functional is this time machine? Is it so dubious that I only get one go of it? For safety’s sake, I think I’d go for some nominal leap forward, for fear that things might get all Butterfly Effect or whatever. The space-time continuum is a fickle mistress, and she probably has the clap.

What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you at a live show?
I’ve been involved in several minor scuffles at a number of shows, but that’s not particularly notable. I don’t think that any of us will ever forget the show that we played in a disused highway tunnel on the side of a mountain is Northern Italy—mostly because the gas generator that we were using to power the stage nearly destroyed all of our equipment on the second day of our European tour. I literally prayed to God for the first time since prepubescence to fix our keyboards—God granted us only half-divinity that evening.

What’s your least favorite genre of music?
While I can’t imagine having the gall to write off an entire genre per se, I can safely say that I have yet to hear anything self-described as “Gypsy Punk” that hasn’t made my skin crawl. I also have a fairly marked distaste of the recent C-86 revival movement.

You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
My head says Van Dyke Parks’ "Song Cycle", while my heart yearns for "Astral Weeks". The eternal struggle of Ego and Id. Astral Weeks is slightly longer—I’ll go with the numbers.

Are you living your dream?
My actual dreams are filled with disappointment and looming dread—and are almost all entirely mundane. So in this sense, yes—I suppose I am living my dream.

Thanx Zac!

Parenthetical Girls are in the middle of releasing a bunch of new 12" records, look for those at your local record store...

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