Quiet Histories

Parenthetical Girls are a band. Of sorts. Beginning as a home recording project of little consequence in the failed milltown of Everett, Washington, the seeds of the band were initially conceived on the eve of 2002 between two childhood friends, Jeremy Cooper and Zac Pennington. Compiling an innocent assortment of equipment (bass synthesizer, ill-tuned guitar, analog tape delay, and, of course, glockenspiel), the pair embarked on a hopelessly flawed trajectory--to emulate the spirit of their mutual musical interests, which at the time primarily included the likes of Brian Eno, Pete Kember, Phil Spector, and the early Rough Trade catalog. The result was a less-than-subtle amalgam of Spectorian reverence, oblique strategy, teenage angst, opiated reverb, and saccharine-pop sensibilities--songs that are scarely songs at all. That band existed in a variety of forms until the winter of 2002, quietly dissolving with a mutual disinterest in the strains of practice and artistic indifference.

A year or so later, Zac decided to re-evaluate the hiss-laden Maxell he and Jeremy had casually lost interest in so many months before, and, in spite of its obvious limitations, took it upon himself to "finish" what the twosome had started. Rooting through hundreds of unlabelled cassette tapes in Jeremy's dank, rented storage facility in Everett, Zac finally unearthed the original 8-track recordings--and with the help of considerably more capable hands (namely the Dead Science's Jherek Bischoff and Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart) the original recordings were digitally (and heavily) retrofitted into seven proper compositions. To further complicate matters, Pennington commissioned Jherek and Jamie to complete two radically different sets of mixes for the songs--which have since become respectively known as the "O" and "X" versions of the record. For the sake of Zac's wavering spine, "Swastika Girls" had by this time arbitrarily become "Parenthetical Girls"--and were by this point quite a different beast anyway. That record became (((GRRRLS))), and was issued on the Slender Means Society label in 2004 in vinyl only format--later expanded and reissued on CD in 2006. Scant touring followed--first as a trio consisting of Zac, Jherek, and Jherek's Dead Science band mate Sam Mickens, and later as a duo sans-Bischoff--playing shows with the kindly likes of Xiu Xiu, Deerhoof, The Microphones, Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, and, of course, The Dead Science. Before we knew it, some two years had past, and we had shockingly little to show for it.

Beginning sometime in 2005, Zac undertook a new Parenthetical Girls recording project, which by the end of the year would become Safe As Houses, the band's sophomore record. Written and recorded with Jherek and Sam in the usual closets, apartments, boat houses, and art galleries between Portland, OR and Everett, WA, Safe As Houses was finished after Christmas, 2005, and released in the Summer of 2006. People seemed to like that one a lot more than the first one. The band--now comprised of proper members Matthew Carlson, Eddy Crichton, Rachael Jensen, and Zac--toured the United States a lot after that, and then undertook our first European tour, which including festivals and shows with Patrick Wolf, Smashing Pumpkins, Deerhoof, White Stripes, and a battle set vs. Slint performing Spiderland in its entirety. We lost.

Upon our return, the band began work on their third album, entitled Entanglements. In spite of the fact that nearly every song features upwards of 100 tracks, Zac scarcely played anything on the record. Which pleases him greatly. We all hope it comes out sometime this year. Or ever.