Tearist remixes Parenthetical Girls on new track
Fans of Portland, Ore., chamber-pop experimentalists Parenthetical Girls know that the band has a flair for the theatrical. The quintet’s 2008 “Entanglements” full-length was a wildly ambitious swirl of hyper-literacy, orchestral grandeur and incredible intimacy, and the Girls’ latest release, “Mend and Make Do,” is the third in a series of limited vinyl EPs whose editions are numbered in the members’ actual blood. The run will culminate later this year in a fifth installment that comes packaged in an oversized LP box meant to collect the set as an album called “Privilege.”
If any Angeleno band is up to the task of meeting Parenthetical Girls on its own spectacularly dramatic terms, it’s the gothy electro-noise duo Tearist, who’ve remixed “Mend” song “Careful Who You Dance With.” Live, vocalist Yasmine Kittles and effects wizard William Strangeland-Menchaca are locally famous for their captivating, occasionally dangerous show. She howls in English and Farsi, hits things with metal pipes, and squirms on the floor, while he stands behind in stoic contrast, improvising beats and synth lines in an effort to push her to the extreme.
Fittingly, Tearist’s just-out debut LP, “Living: 2009 - Present,” comprises meticulously edited snippets of performances captured by fans and friends since the pair started playing out, from early gigs at all-ages dive Pehrspace to last year’s spot opening for La Roux at El Rey. “There were so many recordings and each one sounded completely different,” said Kittles. “We were growing live and you can hear that, us reacting to the crowd. There’s one point where I get so angry that I rush at my friend with a pipe. It gets animalistic.”
That aggressive zeal comes through on her group’s radical reworking of “Careful Who You Dance With,” where the considered coo of Parenthetical Girls’ Zac Pennington is transformed into an abstract chant spurring on blown-out trance music from a warehouse rave. In Tearist’s blackened hands, the song’s title seems more fitting than ever.
-- Chris Martins
Photo: Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls. Credit: Courtesy of the band